Wine for Normal People

By Wine for Normal People

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A Podcast Republic user
 Jan 20, 2021

winelawn
 Aug 29, 2020
Best wine podcast out there. Great for newbies to enthusiasts.

Description

A podcast for people who like wine but not the snobbery that goes with it. We talk about wine in a fun, straightforward, normal way to get you excited about it and help you drink better, more interesting stuff. The Wine For Normal People book is available on Amazon! Back catalog available at http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com.

Episode Date
Ep 371: The Wines of Croatia
39:23

Croatia is a small country with unlimited wine potential. With a 2,500-year history of winemaking, this beautiful nation has coast, islands, and inland hills, all with unique soil types that make its growing conditions unlike anywhere else in the world. The four main regions make distinctive wines using indigenous grapes and although the industry is just getting back on its feet after a century of war, socialism, and poor viticulture, Croatia is a country on the ascent, and one you should know about! 

Dubrovnik in Dalmatia

These show notes really have to be a list of places and grapes, to help you figure out what the heck we were saying on the show. So here it is, as promised:

 

Source: Croatian Chamber of Economy and Croatian Premium Wine Imports

Continental/Inland areas

Croatian Uplands: The cool, hilly areas around the nation’s capital of Zagreb

  • Whites: Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay,
    • Furmint (Hungary’s grape used for Tokaji, known as Pušipel or Moslavac),
    • Škrlet (like Grüner Veltliner)
    • Sparkling wine production using traditional method with long lees aging
  • Reds: Pinot Noir, Purtugizec (Blauer Porturgieser)

 

Slavonia: A flatter area that goes east from Zagreb to where the Danube hits Serbia. It has Gently rolling hills but the area is famed from the Slavonian oak for (especially Italian) barrels.

  • Whites:
    • Graševina (grah-shay-VEEN-ah) - Croatia’s most planted white variety,
    • Traminac (Gewürztraminer) in warmer sites
  • Reds:
    • Frankovka (Blaufränkisch) for still and sparkling wines

 

 

The Dalmatian Coast and Istria

Dalmatia and Croatia’s Islands: The southernmost region of Croatia, the area has a mild Mediterranean climate – with dry, hot summers, mild winters with rain. This is the big tourist area, it lies on the coast and includes Split and the city of Dubrovnik (the city of King’s Landing in the HBO Show “Game of Thrones.” Yes, I did read all 6 books).

 

There is island viticulture here and we mention some specific places: Brač, Vis, Korčula, Hvar (where the world’s oldest continuously cultivated vineyard can be found at Stari Grad Plain). Also home to the great wines of the Peljesac (pell-yer-shatz) Peninsula

  • Whites:
    • Pošip (po-SHIP)
    • Vuguva (VOO-gah-vah)
    • Maraština (mar-ahsh-TEEN-a)
    • Debit
    • Grk
  • Reds:
    • Crljenak Kastelnski (serl-YEN-ick casht-el-EN-ski)/Tribidag (regional name for same grape)
    • Babić (bab-ICH)
    • Plavac Mali (plaa-VAHTZ mah-lee) -- From Postup and Dingač (where Miljenko (Mike) Grgić was born)

 

 

Istria is the dynamic, outward looking, northern-most wine region. Throughout history it belonged to Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia and that means it has a influences in food and wine from these nations. Istria has a Mediterranean climate, like Dalmatia but it is slightly cooler. It has rocky soils, rolling hills, and iron rich red soils (terra rossa like the Coonawarra of South Australia).

  • Whites:
    • 2/3 production is the Malvazija Istarska grape (Malvasia Istriana in Italy)
    • Žlahtina (zh-LACHK-teen-ah): grown only on the island of Krk (KIRK), with citrus and pear notes, soft round textures and low acidity
  • Reds:
    • Native red variety Teran – acidic, aromatic medium to full bodied reds, best on clay-based terra rossa soils. Also great for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the native varieties. Also Refošk.
    • Good wine tourism here

 

 

Grape Descriptions

 

Whites

Graševina: Welschriesling, Laški Rizling, Riesling Italico, Olasz Riesling): Croatia’s most planted white and grape variety overall

  • Best in continental climate on the plains of Slavonia
  • Styles range
    • young, fresh, saline, and grassy when aged in neutral vessels
    • Oak-aged with floral, peachy, apricot notes and a fuller body.
  • Can age well, can be dry or off-dry, sparkling, botrytized, ice wine. Part of Gemišt, a mix of Graševina with sparkling water

 

Malvazija Istarska: Malvasia grown in Croatia with no relation to the Malvasia from Greece or Italy. Croatia’s second most-planted variety, can reflect terroir well

  • Istria’s big grape –representing more than 50% of all their whites
  • Styles:
    • Fermented and aged in stainless steel – floral, honey, apple, pear notes, with lower acidity, salinity
    • With extended skin contact and barrel aging -- full-bodied white or orange wine
  • Experimentation with oak, concrete, amphora, skin contact is becoming common

 

Whites of Dalmatia

Pošip: Originally from the island of Korčula (CORE-chu-lah) where it was shielded form phylloxera as it grew on sandy soils. It also grows on the Pelješac Peninsula and on Brač and Hvar, and other islands

  • The wine is aromatic, herbal, grassy, and acidic. Can be oaked, aged on the lees, huge styles, passito for region’s traditional sweet wine Prošek

 

Debit is like minerally Sauvignon Blanc but with more lime than grapefruit flavor. With oak age this wine can be like a medium bodied Chardonnay.

 

Maraština is dry and full-bodied with peach, nut, and floral aromas and a full, viscous texture.

 

Vugava: Mostly found on island of Vis in central Dalmatia, which has steep hillsides.

  • The grape is similar to the Rhône Valley’s Viognier –it can get overripe and its lovely notes of apricot, honey, and flowers can verge on excessive, especially when accompanied by high alcohol and low acidity. For this reason, it used to be for blending only but growers are getting better at making varietal versions

 

 

Reds

Plavac Mali: The third most planted variety, it is grown mostly in southern Dalmatia, in bush vines on rocky soils and steep south-facing slopes. Dingač and Postup on the Pelješac peninsula are famed.

  • Cross between Crlenjak Kaštelanski (Tribidrag or Crljenak Kaštelanski depending on the locality ancestral Zinfandel) and Dobričić (an ancient red wine grape variety from the Dalmatian coast).
    • Similarities to Zinfandel: flavors like raisins, plums, and herbs. Both ripen to very high alcohol and have problems with uneven ripening, which makes them difficult to grow.
    • Differences with Zinfandel: Plavac Mali is denser and heavier than Zinfandel and can have more black cherry flavors and more tannin. Plavac Mali can have lower acidity and producers sometimes do it no favors by putting it in new oak for too long

 

 

Babić: A small percentage is grown but some is imported to the US. It is grown Northern Dalmatia, NE of Split, some on the island of Korčula

  • The grape is related to Dobričić so it is also a relative of Plavac Mali
  • The wines are full bodied, herbal, acidic, with cherry notes, soft tannins, and lower alcohol levels

 

 

Teran: Grown in Istria, this lighter style, thin-skinned grape was grown in Istria for centuries, replaced with French varieties but is making a comeback

  • The wines have good acidity and tannin. They look dark but have lighter aromas like red fruit, earthy, herbs, pepper. These wines are good for barrel aging and can age

 

Sources: Vina CroatiaWine Anorak, The BuyerSevenFifty, Wine Enthusiast

__________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

 

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Apr 19, 2021
Ep 370: Six (or Twelve) Unorthodox Wines for Spring
33:46

For this show, we discuss a list of lovely reds and whites that you won't see on other lists for spring wines. Etna from Sicily? Check. Chignin Bergeron from Savoie in France? Yup. If you're looking for a change from the norm and a great spring list, here it is! 

As promised, here is the list...with some example labels to make shopping easy (see the winefornormalpeople.com/blog for label examples)

 

  1. With its medium body, excellent acidity, and minerally flavors, Etna Rosso from Sicily is a must have for spring. It can gracefully handle grilled food as well as it does mushroom risottos!

The bonus wine: Etna Bianco, made of the Carricante grape. Similar nature, but with a greater hit of acidity and a cheek coating texture. Taste the volcano! 

 

  1. As we called it in the Chardonnay episode, Jura is the Bizarro Burgundy. It's just across the Bresse plain and grows similar grapes...except when it doesn't. In the Arbois region, light, spicy, peppery reds of Poulsard and Trousseau can be lovely on a spring evening with salads, morel mushrooms, and flavorful fish like salmon.

The bonus wines: sparkling Crémant from the Jura made of Chardonnay and becoming more widely available OR Chignin Bergeron, aka Roussanne, from the neighboring region, Savoie. That peachy, herbal, fuller body with good acidity is great when there’s still a chill in the air but you still want to stay outside!

 

  1. Bordeaux, M.C. Ice’s favorite. For spring, a white Bordeaux with a large proportion of the waxy, peachy, sautéed herb, honeycomb flavored/textured Sémillon is nice as the nights warm up. Sauvignon Blanc gives these blends excellent acidity and herbal aromatics but you just need a touch of that when we’re dealing with spring. The great part about Bordeaux Blanc? You can switch to Sauvignon Blanc heavy blends in the summer for a more refreshing bottle! I recommend steering clear of Bordeaux Blanc and Bordeaux Blanc Superieur (unless you know the producer) and seeking out wines from the Côtes de Bordeaux (label examples below). If you can swing it, get a wine from Pessac-Leognan – the best areas for whites in Bordeaux.

The bonus wines: Merlot heavy red blends from the Côtes de Bordeaux—Castillon and Francs are the more serious areas but Blaye may be the most refreshing for our spring hit list.

  1. No list of mine is complete without Alsace, France. However, this time I’m switching up my regular Riesling reco and instead recommending Pinot Gris. We’re not in summer yet and the nights can have a nip, so Alsace Pinot Gris, with pear, citrus, white flower, and smoke notes, and a medium body will be a versatile sipper. It goes so well with onion tartlets, mushroom quiche, and chicken in herbal and citrus preparations!

The bonus wine: Yup, I’m doing it. Pinot Grigio. No, not the alcoholic lemon water! The good stuff from Trentino Alto-Adige. If you get a case, try the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Grigio together to see the similarities and differences. Pinot Grigio will be nuttier with higher acidity and more lemon notes, but the similarity will be far greater between these two wines than if you get a cheapy from the bottom shelf of the grocery!

 

  1. Rosé. Here’s the one on everyone’s list, but rightfully so. Fresh rosé is released in the springtime and there is nothing better than newly released rosé. Provence is the standard – especially from sub regions like Sainte-Victoire, Frejus, and La Londe. We forgot to mention Tavel and Bandol in the show, which are always homeruns. Rosé is versatile in pairing – fried foods, grilled salmon, strawberry salads with goat cheese, and pasta with pesto (pistou as it’s known in Provence) are some options.

Bonus wines: Other styles of rosé, especially California with its sun kissed styles from Pinot Noir or Spanish rosé from Tempranillo, Garnacha, or Monastrell are outstanding and great for a contrast against the lighter Provence style. Italian rosato can be wonderful as well and is made in most regions from their local grapes.

 

  1. The last one was really “Sophie’s Choice” for me. I couldn’t decide between Malbec and Torrontés from high elevation Salta in Argentina or Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from cool climate Casablanca from Chile. Ultimately the floral, peachy yet acidic and slightly bitter Torrontés from Cafayate/Salta and its intense, yet elegant counterpart Malbec from the same region seemed to be best for us. M.C. Ice astutely pointed out that for people living in hotter areas where spring becomes summer-like quickly, the high acidity and refreshing lighter notes in the Chilean wines were the winners. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

 

Happy Spring! We hope you drink well, and that this list gives you at least one new idea to try as the days heat up slowly over the next few months.

 

__________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Apr 12, 2021
Ep 369: The Greats -Sauternes and Barsac
57:47

Of the greatest sweet wines of the world, those of Bordeaux – Sauternes and Barsac – may be the most famed. These small regions (covering just 2,217 ha/5,478 acres) and their 132 producers, make some of the world's most prestigious, long-lived and expensive sweet wines.

 

Pascal MOULIN, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located just 40 miles/65 km south of Bordeaux city, along the Garonne and Ciron Rivers, the AOC Sauternes includes the communes of Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues, and Preignac. These areas are undulating, with a combination of soils and some elevations up to 240 feet. The Barsac AOC, which can also use Sauternes AOC, stands alone as the commune with unique character – it is distinguished by its limestone and sandy soils, which create lighter, more minerally and elegant styles of this beautiful wine. This area is flatter, but the Barsac has limestone soils, which make the wines taste as they do.

 

Both Sauternes and Barsac are made from a combination of three main grapes  -Sémillon for structure, smoothness, and richness, Sauvignon Blanc for herbal aromatics and acidity, and a small proportion of Muscadelle, also for aroma.

The key to Sauternes, the thing that makes it stand apart from other sweet wines is the unique climate conditions that occur here regularly in the autumn most harvests. During Autumn mornings in Sauternes, the cooler Ciron River meets the warmer Garonne and condensation or mist forms, covering certain vineyards. These moist areas could be subject to grey rot (and sometimes are) but if those moist conditions are followed by drier, warmer afternoons, instead of grey rot, Botrytis cinerea forms. This fungus attacks grapes, perforating their skins and allowing moisture trapped inside to evaporate when this happens over a number of weeks, the result is a complex wine, that has aromas and flavors like apricot, mango, tropical fruit, honeycomb/beeswax, honeysuckle, hazelnut, almond, flowers, peaches, nutty, pears, orange, (new oak: vanilla, butterscotch), and has sweetness with strong acidity and a long finish. The best of these can age up to 50 years.

 

In terms of pairing, there are so many ideas that many don’t consider when thinking of Sauternes. Although foie gras is classic, the wine goes well with roasted chicken with thyme and herbs, oysters and seafood dishes, especially lobster and crab, spicy food with some sweetness (especially sweet and sour Chinese dishes, Indian dishes with heat and sweet, and Thai curries). Blue cheese and other salty cheeses are great, and Sauternes or Barsac should definitely be on the table for the Thanksgiving turkey – adding moisture, acidity, and sweetness to the mix. Traditionally, Sauternes and Barsac are also served as aperitifs, cold and as a welcome to guests as they come in (similar to Champagne).

Sauternes was part of the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wines – they were the only whites ranked. There were 27 Cru Classes, 11 First Growths, 15 Second Growths, and Château d’ Yquem  at the top of the ranking – a Premier Cru Supérieur.

 

Among these topics, we discuss the business of Sauternes, the decline in planting and sales, and do an overview of Chåteau d’Yquem, the most famed sweet wine in the world.

Benjamin Zingg, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

We mention other top Château:

In Barsac: Château Climens, Château Coutet, Château Doisey Daëne

In Sauternes: Château Guiraud, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Château Rabaud-Promis (underrated), Château Sigalas-Rabaud, Château Rieussec, and more.

 

A great deep dive into this interesting, classic region, this podcast gives you another tool to be well-rounded in wine!

 

HUGE Credit to Jane Anson's spectacular "Inside Bordeaux" book for making the research easy and fun! 

__________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Apr 05, 2021
Ep 368: Michael Dhillon of Bindi Wines, Icon of Australia's Boutique Wineries
01:02:08

Michael Dhillon of Bindi Wines is one of the most famous winemakers in Australia. Bindi is a 170 hectare farm of which 7 hectares are planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Michael Dhillon had gained renown through his beautiful wines which show balance and purity in the expression of Bindi's individual vineyard sites.

Famous winemaker and writer James Halliday writes of Michael: “One of the icons of Macedon. The Chardonnay is top-shelf, the Pinot Noir as remarkable (albeit in a very different idiom) as Bass Phillip, Giaconda or any of the other tiny-production, icon wines. The addition of Heathcote- sourced Shiraz under the Pyrette label confirms Bindi as one of the greatest small producers in Australia.”

https://www.visitmacedonranges.comImage from https://www.visitmacedonranges.com

The area of Macedon Ranges has dramatic mountains and those high elevations translate to cool climates. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz, and sparkling wine are the specialties of the region. Most of the wines are made by family-owned producers who make small amounts of wine. Among them is Bindi 

In the show, the articulate, passionate Michael Dhillon joins us to introduce this magical region, and tell us about his wines, which many think are the best of Australia. 

 

Here is a list of Bindi's wines:

You can get Bindi Wine in the US from www.wineworksonline.com (send them an email if the wines are not up on the site and they can get them for you if you reference the podcast -- I don't make money off the wines, they are helping us out! )

__________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Mar 29, 2021
Ep 367: Chardonnay -- The Grape Miniseries Refresh
57:58

In this show we take another look at the regal Chardonnay grape and talk about how it has changed over the years. This is a refresh of a previous show done years ago, so we cover everything we do in a normal grape mini-series. Once you get to know Chardonnay, you realize what a chameleon it really is and how important it is to understand place and producer to get the styles that you like.

Here are some brief show notes (with special focus on writing out regions that you may not have caught while listening)!

 

  • Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, and is a cross of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. In the vineyard it is early budding and ripening, so frost can be an issue, however it grows very well on a multitude of soils and growers the world around love it for how it takes to most sites. Powdery mildew, coulure (shatter), and rot can cause a headache in the vineyard but with more than 28 clones to choose from, growers can pick what is best for their site.

 

  • The variety does different things in different climates – it has lower alcohol and higher acidities with mineral and citrus aromas and flavors in cool climates and is tropical, fruity, and full bodied with low acidity in warmer climates. Soils make a difference too – well drained soils are best. Limestone is generally considered the best type for Chardonnay with bits of clay and marl to give the wines dimension, but there are lots of different soils that yield beautiful wines from Chardonnay. Drainage and low yields make a world of difference with this grape too.

  • Chardonnay is a non-aromatic, generally neutral grape that can take on flavors from the vineyard or be a blank canvas on which winemakers show their skills. The grape can and does express terroir, as we see in places like Burgundy, its homeland, but often it is subjected to full malo-lactic fermentation (yielding buttered popcorn notes), oak aging in a high proportion of new, heavily toasted barrels (vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, smoke/char), and battonnage (stirring of the dead yeast cells or lees, to create bready, toasty, yeasty notes in the wine).

 

  • Chardonnay is ideal for sparkling wine. In cool climates it is floral with low acidity and brings a lightness and elegance to sparkling wines. Champagne, with its long aging on the lees (sur lie, dead yeast cells – basic Champagne is aged this way for at least 12 months, vintage Champagne 30 months and the Tete de Cuvee, the best Champagnes, even longer), has shown us the changes that can occur with this contact over time –amino acids, peptides, proteins, and fatty acids for to add aromas and flavors like hazelnuts and honey.

 

 

Old World

Burgundy

  • Chablis: Steely, minerally wines that are a great expression of the grape. Affordable Grand Cru
  • Côte de Beaune: The most age worthy and famed Chardonnay in the world.
    • Grand cru vineyards that straddle the towns of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet: Le Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
    • Corton-Charlemagne
  • Côte Chalonnaise
  • Mâconnais: Pouilly-Fuisse is good and improving

Champagne: Blanc de Blancs is pure Chardonnay

 

Other France:

  • Loire: Used in Crémant and the white blends of Saumur, Anjoy, Touraine
  • Jura (as we call it, Bizarro Burgundy)
  • Languedoc-Roussillon: most Chardonnay is bulk and is bottled under Vins de Pays d'Oc
    • Limoux: Does sparkling Crémant de Limoux, barrel-fermented still wine.

Italy

  • Often mixed in with Pinot Bianco in the northeast areas -- Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia
  • Franciacorta: Used in this fine sparkling wine of Lombardy
  • Piedmont: Excellent Chardonnay when it’s not too oaky

 

Other Old World Spots

  • Spain: Used in Cava as a small proportion of the blend, used in some other white blends
  • Austria and Switzerland
  • Eastern Europe: Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia
  • Israel
  • England: Excellent in sparkling, more varietal wine being made

_________________________________________ 

New World

United States

  • California: Most important variety
    • Napa: Carneros, Russian River
    • Sonoma: Sonoma Coast, Petaluma Gap, Russian River
    • Central Coast: Santa Barbara (my favorite region), Santa Lucia Highlands,
    • Mendocino: Anderson Valley
    • Central Valley: BULK
  • Washington State: Lots of fruit, maybe less MLF
  • Oregon: The one to watch in the U.S.
  • NY State: Finger Lakes and Long Island
  • Virginia: Linden, Pollak make especially good versions

 

Canada: Niagara, BC

 

Australia

  • New South Wales: Hunter Valley – tropical, fruity, buttery, opulent
  • Victoria: Yarra, Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges – lighter, more acidic wine with good terroir expression
  • South Australia: Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, nice, still oaky sometimes
  • Margaret River: Can be complex, fruity, good acidity
  • Tasmania: Delicate to complex, good acidity, used in sparkling

 

New Zealand: Ripeness with Acidity, nice herbal character often, excellent from Hawkes Bay where the styles are fatter, to Martinborough, and to Canterbury where the acidity is pronounced.

 

Chile

  • Casablanca Valley: Ripeness with acidity, not much oak or malolactic fermentation
  • Leyda, San Antonio: Similar to Casablanca
  • Other cool regions: Limarí, Bío Bío and Itata Valleys

 

Argentina

  • Very much like California Chardonnay. Promising in cooler, higher vineyards - Tupungato. 

 

South Africa – hot, except in Walker Bay

  • Walker Bay, Elgin: Soft with mineral and nut notes
  • Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl: Fuller, can have a lot of oak 

 

Aging

  • Top Chardonnays can age and need the age: 30 years is not unheard of from great producers of Grands Crus. With Premiers Crus – more like 20 years is appropriate. Village – within 8-10 yrs.
  • New World wines generally age for less time, but the length of aging depends on the producer and the area

 

Flavor: We discuss the difference between primary and secondary flavors and how knowing the difference can help point you to styles you prefer:

  • Primary flavors from the grape:
    • Cooler sites: lemon, chalk, minerals, flint, green apple, citrus, pears, grapefruit (higher acidities, lower alcohols, lighter bodied)
    • Warmer sites: baked apple, pineapple, guava, melon (also fuller bodied, lower acidity, higher alcohol)
  • Secondary flavors from winemaking:
    • Oak notes: Smoke, toast, spice, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, butterscotch, caramel
    • Malolactic fermentation: buttered popcorn, clotted cream
    • Sur lie aging: toast, nuttiness, yeasty notes
  • Serving temperature effects the flavor. I prefer it a little cooler than is often recommended: 48˚-50˚/9˚-10˚C is what I prefer, although many recommend 55˚F/12.8˚C

 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Mar 22, 2021
Ep 366: Riccardo Sobrino of Cascina Delle Rose, The Toast of Barbaresco's Boutique Producers
01:10:41

Riccardo Sobrino, of Cascina delle Rose, runs a small estate in Barbaresco that produces elegant, perfumed and complex wines and has been in his family for more than 70 years. This 5 ha/12 acre vineyard is a family operation – he and his brother inherited the property from their parents, who are still involved in major decisions of the winery.

 

Cascina delle Rose was started by Riccardo’s mother, Giovanna Rizzolio, in 1992 on this ideal site – steep vineyards with calcareous soils on the Tre Stelle vineyard side and clay soils on the Rio Sordo side to yield two equally wonderful but very different Barbarescos. Since its inception, Giovanna insisted on biodiversity, organic viticulture, and making wines that represent the elegance and grace. Made to highlight terroir, these wines represent the elegance and grace that is inherent to the wines of this region.

Photo: Courtesy Cascina delle Rose, Riccardo is second from the right

The estate is run by Davide, Riccardo’s older brother and Riccardo, who I welcome and who I have had an opportunity to visit and learn from in the vineyards and in the winery.

 

In the show we cover:

  • The history of Barbaresco and of Riccardo’s family in the area
  • We discuss his AWESOME mother, Giovanna Rizzolio, who saved up money working at a job she hated in textiles to buy the winery from her family and create outstanding wines that she made working in concert with the land. Riccardo shares her story and what it was like to be a woman in the early 1990s owning a winery on her own (hint: she is amazing)
  • Riccardo talks about the roles everyone in his family plays in the business – his brother as head of the vineyards, Riccardo as a co-winemaker and businessman.

 

Barbaresco

  • Riccardo gives us an excellent view into the terroir of Barbaresco, the MGA system and then we go into detail on his beautiful vineyards, Rio Sordo (heavier soils, a bit bolder in flavor) and Tre Stelle (lighter soils, a bit more elegant in style). Riccardo teaches us about the importance of aspect, elevation, slope, and soil – it’s a great dork out and so well explained.



  • We discuss, in detail, the differences between Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. And how Riccardo and Davide work hard in the vineyard to achieve the elegance that typifies Cascina delle Rose.

We wrap with a very useful discussion of how long to age Barbaresco (we both prefer it around 10-15 years, but agree it’s personal preference) and Riccardo gives us his word that tradition at Cascina delle Rose, is sacrosanct, so we can expect these wines to stay in their beautiful style for years to come.

Photo: Courtesy Cascina delle Rose, View of property

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Mar 16, 2021
Ep 365: Vins Doux Naturels -- the Underrated, Elegant Wines of Southern France
44:12

Vins doux naturels (VDNs), translated to ‘naturally sweet wines’, are some of the most historic yet underestimated wines in France. These wines are made using the process of mutage – adding neutral grape spirit/alcohol – to fermenting wine in order to halt fermentation and leave sugar in the wine (they aren’t REALLY naturally sweet wine, although producers will say you are preserving the natural sweetness of the wine so that’s the counterpoint).

Image of Rivesaltes: WinesoftheRoussillon.com

The technique of mutage was created in Roussillon in 1285 by Arnaud de Villeneuve, physician of the Royal House of Barcelona from 1281 to 1310 and a professor of the University of Montpellier. It is the same process used to make Port. Here the wine must be around 6% alcohol by volume when grape spirit is added to kill the yeast and bring the alcohol in the wine to 15-18% ABV. Wines retain sugar and this base wine can go many different directions depending on what the producer wants to present in the bottle.

Although these wines can be made with more than 20 different grape varieties, two take primacy: Muscat blanc à petit grains for the white and Grenache noir for the red.

  • Grenache is great as a young wine but can also be good if aged for years in old oak barrels, sometimes large glass jars (called bonbonnes or demi-johns) developing complexity and tertiary aromas (tobacco, saddle, mocha)
  • Muscat has fresh, grapey aromas, and naturally high acidity so the resulting sweet wines are very balanced. These grapes get more flavor and color if the producer wants to put the juice in contact with the skins and, like the reds, they can also be aged oxidatively

 

Vins Doux Naturels of the Languedoc

We begin the show in the Languedoc, which only produces white vins doux naturels (VDNs) of the Muscat grape. Each of these wines is made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and made in a non oxidative style to show the ripe fruit flavors, honeyed notes and richness contrasting with the acidity of the grape. Here are the four VDN appellations of the Languedoc, all of which are fortified with neutral grape spirit to 15% - 18% alcohol and a minimum of 11% residual sugar (Saint Jean de Minervois has a minimum of 12.5% RS). These wines are all golden in color and made of white grapes:

 

  • Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois: Vineyards are at elevation so the wines have a better balance of acidity, more elegance, and are more complex
  • Muscat de Frontignan: the biggest area for VdN in the Languedoc, these wines range in quality but Frontignan has great historic importance as it probably contains France’s earliest vineyard sites and was certainly the country’s first VdN appellation
  • Muscat de Lunel is small and the local co-op makes many of the wines. The best have floral honeyed notes
  • Muscat de Mireval is right next to the coast, immediately northeast of Frontignan and the wines, dominated by co-op production are rarely seen outside of France

 

Vins Doux Naturels of Roussillon

Roussillon was incorporated into France in 1659, but before that was part of Spain, which it borders. There is a very set Catalan influence in this area, which is a hybrid of Spanish and French culture in many ways. Roussillon is shaped like an amphitheater and borders the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees & the Corbières Mountains. This sunniest region of France has rivers which shape the landscape and the terroir.

 

Roussillon is the epicenter of vins doux naturels, making 80% of all VDN. It makes white, and more interestingly, reds whose flavors you will not find anywhere else. After mutage, the VdNs are made reductively (like regular wine where you try to avoid contact with oxygen to maintain fresh flavors) or oxidatively, with exposure to air for varying lengths of time. On the wines of the Roussillon you will see the following labels:

 

  • Wines that are aged without oxygen (topped off barrels/reductive) and are fruity and strong:
    • Blanc
    • Rosé
    • Rimage (used for Banyuls)
    • Grenat (used for Maury, Rivesaltes)
    • If they have a bit of age but are still reductive you will may see recolté or vendange on the bottle
  • Wines that are aged oxidatively in barrels that are not topped off, thus concentrating flavors and giving the wines more character (similar to tawny Port, rosé is never aged this way, BTW)
    • Ambré: Whites that are oxidatively aged
    • Tuilé: Reds that are oxidatively aged
    • Rancio: VERY rare category of wine. Either whites or reds aged for so long that they taste almost like Madeira. They are aged in glass bonbonnes/demi-Johns that are kept outside or in attics to gain exposure to the temperature extremes to intensify flavor
    • Hors d’Age: Anything aged more than 5 years before release, normally oxidatively aged

Vins Doux Naturel aging in bonbonnes Image Source: Vig'nette

 

 

Roussillon Wines/Areas

 Muscat de Rivesaltes can be made two Muscat varieties blended in varying ratios:

  • Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (blend must be at least 50%) which contributes aromas of tropical, citrus fruits (lemon)
  • Muscat of Alexandria which offers aromas and flavors of flowers, herbs (mint) and peaches
  • The wine mellows over time to have honeyed, baked fruit flavors

 

Rivesaltes is France's largest sweet-wine appellation, in terms of area and volume. Rivesaltes wines are blends or single varieties. Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir and Macabeu are the main grapes used

  • When made from white varieties they can be Rivesaltes Ambré (nutty and caramelized), rancio (Madeira-like, baked notes) or Hors d’Age (aged 5+ years)
  • Rivesaltes Rosé is a fresh, fruity wine made mainly of Grenache Noir. It is aged reductively
  • Rivesaltes Rouge is made mainly of Grenache Noir. It can be Grenat (reductive), Tuilé (oxidative) and for rare bottles, rancio and hors d’age when oxidatively aged

 

 

Maury Doux is in northern Roussillon on steep limestone cliffs at the beginning of the Pyrenees foothills. Maury's vins doux naturels are produced mainly from the Grenache grape varieties.

  • Maury Blanc is made with mainly Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris and aged reductively. There are oxidative versions -- Maury Ambré and Hors d’Age
  • Maury Rouge is made with a minimum of 75% Grenache noir with Grenache Blanc, Gris, Carignan, Syrah, Macabeu (max 10%). Similar to Rivesaltes, there are Grenat, Tuilé, hors d’age, and rancio versions. Wines labeled with récoltevendangeor vintage must have aged a minimum of 12 months in an airtight environment, making them a nonoxidative style of VDN.

Image of Maury: WinesoftheRoussillon.com

 

Banyuls is one of the world's very few fortified red wines. Its best sites are on steep slopes or narrow terraces facing the sea. All Banyuls are made mainly from Grenache grapes of various colors.

  • Banyuls Rouge is required to be at least 50% Grenache Noir. These wines are the best pairings with all manner of chocolate. These classifications are different from Rivesaltes and Maury
    • Rimage is aged reductively and bottled early. It has black fruit and chocolate flavors
    • Rimage Mis Tardive is Rimage that is aged for 1-3 years
    • Banyuls Tuilé, rancio, and hors d’age are aged oxidatively
  • Banyuls Blanc is made with Grenache blanc and Grenache Gris. It can be ambré, rancio, and hors d’age
  • Banyuls Rosé is young and fresh, made of Grenache Noir and reductive

Banyuls Grand Cru is at least 75% Grenache that is aged for a minimum of 30 months in oak – so all are slightly oxidized. They can be labeled dry/sec/brut (all are ok to use) as long as it has <5% sugar

 

Vins Doux Naturels of the Rhône

  • Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Vin Doux Naturel is made only of Muscat à Petit Grains Blanc and Muscat Noir. Mutage brings it to a minimum of 15% alcohol. It is sweet, white, rich, but with a floral delicacy.

 

  • Rasteau has become an important dry red wine cru of the southern Rhône but this area also makes VDN in small quantities. The wines must be at least 90% Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc. The VDNs are mostly red but some white and rosé also made. All are best consumed young.
  • Reds: Grenat, tuilé, hors d’age, rancio
  • Whites: Blanc, ambré

Rasteau AOC: Image from Vins-Rhone

At minimum I hope you try Banyuls with some chocolate or the Muscat of your choice with fruit or nut tart or your crème brûlée. They make every meal complete and are such a bargain for what they are!

 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Mar 08, 2021
Ep 364: The High-End World of Rare Wines with Dave Parker of Benchmark Wines
01:00:11

In this episode I welcome David Parker, CEO and Founder of Benchmark Wine Group , which is the largest online seller of fine and rare wines for wine retailers, restaurants and collectors worldwide. Benchmark does auction, retail, wholesale and import. 

Dave is an unusual guest for us in that he specializes in a part of the market that most of us, as normal wine people, know nothing about -- fine and rare (and VERY expensive) wine! He is a great guest and openly shares everything from how Benchmark procures wine to how they ensure the wines are authentic (provenance) to the important things to know about collectible wine, should you decide to dip into this world.

 

As a bonus, David tells us about the Rudy Kurniawan scandal (he knew Rudy!) and he shares great information about how the market works to keep that kind of fraud out of rare wine. 

 

As an important program note: I do need to thank the Patrons for encouraging me to have Dave on as a guest and for providing some great questions for this interview. If you are interested in becoming a Patron to have opportunities like this and to take part in other exclusive conversations, you can join for as little as US$20 per year!

Here are the show notes:

  • Dave tells us how Benchmark sources wine, how the wine is evaluated and what makes it a good candidate for his portfolio.

 

  • We discuss provenance/authenticity guarantees, fraud, and how they ensure the wines are in great condition when Benchmark buys them. We discuss the sources of these wines -- from restaurants to private collectors and how Benchmark knows exactly what will work for them. 

"Bordeaux Wines at Fareham Wine Cellar" by Fareham Wine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  • Dave tells us how to begin investing in wine – the types of things people should collect, what you need to start a collection, and how wines become collectible over time. I ask him if these wines are actually worth the money (and he gives a diplomatic answer!)

 

  • Finally, Dave tells us what makes a wine age-worthy and we have a discussion about tariffs and what that may do to the rare wine market.

 

If you're interested in learning more or starting somewhere, check out Benchmark's site. They have a guarantee of quality, so if you decide to invest it's less risky. 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access     

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Mar 01, 2021
Ep 363: The Personal Side of Loire with Serge Dore Importer
01:00:08

Serge Doré, importer of French wine (and American via Quebec…he’s a man of many identities and a worldliness we can only aspire to!) and popular podcast regular, joins us to talk about the Loire Valley. Serge has been visiting the Loire since 1985 and has seen its evolution over the decades. He joins to give us the world of Loire from his perspective, humanize it with stories of producers he imports and some he has just met, and tell us what we can expect from this sometime confusing but wonderfully beautiful and diverse French wine region (for those of you interested in tariffs and how they are affecting business, the last 5 minutes of the pod is also devoted to that topic!).

Here are the notes:

  1. Serge takes us through the main Loire regions. We being in Muscadet/the Pay Nantais. We discuss how far the wine has come in the last 20 years, and what good quality it is now. Serge says it reminds him of a ripe honeydew melon, so the grape name is fitting (the grape is called Melon de Bourgogne). He mentions Domaine Bouchaud whose wines he imports. I mention Domaine Louvetrie as an example of a very rocky, flinty Muscadet.

  1. We talk about Anjou and the lovely Chenin Blanc here. We focus first on Savennières, and then discuss the sweet wines of Quarts de Chaume, Coteaux de Layon, and others in the area. Serge talks about his early experiences with these stunning, yet rare wines.

 

  1. We take a side trip to Sancerre. Serge confirms my hypothesis that Sancerre can sell all day long, but that Pouilly-Fumé has no takers! I mention the great Didier Dageneau and his Silex wine.

 

  1. We discuss the marketing issue for Loire – namely that they don’t know how to do it! I fell that Anjou blanc and rouge, as well as Saumur blanc and rouge are generally generic and don’t taste great. Serge explains that most growers sell to negociants and co-ops who make seas of blah wines that aren’t from specific areas. The result: Rouge and Blanc from these parts are hard to pin down from a style perspective.

 

  1. Serge loves Saumur- Champigny – a Cabernet Franc that is light, fruity, lower in alcohol but has great earthy notes. Thierry Germain is the master and is imported by Kermit Lynch. I say I have found it to be hit or miss. Serge reminds me: it’s all about producer.

 

  1. Serge talks about why Touraine is the upcoming region of France and has been for a few years. He cites climate change as making a big difference for the ripeness levels and flavors for Touraine. 2015 was the big shift in the wines.

    We mention my new favorite Chinon and St. Nicholas de Bourgueil: Pascal et Alain Lourieux (available on Wine Access). Serge tells us stories about how absolutely focused these brothers are on the vineyard to get the results they do. The story is funny and amazing.

  1. Ahhh, Vouvray! It’s a frustrating topic. Serge tells us about how hard it is to sell because of its many styles and we return to one of the themes of the Loire: superb wines, no marketing savvy. The wine of Serge’s that I love is Domaine Bourillon Dorléans “La Coulee d’Argent”. It had some age (which I think Vouvray really needs) and was very flinty, with lemon curd and vanilla notes – tasty! Serge tells us stories of Fred Bourillon, his family and his wine. We briefly discuss the top dog of Vouvray, Domain Huet who makes outstanding, consistent Vouvray.

Source: jamesonf- https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesonfink/5147142662/
Vouvray AOC moelleux Domaine Huet 1985

  1. Serge tells us about the terroir of Sancerre and the three soil types that make it stunning:
  • Les Caillottes
  • Flint/Silex
  • Terre Blanche – Clay

 

  1. We discuss the importance of climate and how the two different climates, which switch off at Amboise from maritime influenced to continental, divide the Loire. Slope, breezes, river effects – all the dorkiness is in this section of the conversation.

 

  1. Serge and I muse about how natural wine may be a bit overhyped by the media where the Loire is concerned. Low intervention/traditional winemaking is the order of the day with the reds and Chenin however, Serge doesn’t hear producers talk about it.

 

  1. Finally, we discuss the issues around tariffs and why they are so destructive for the wine industry in the US.

I love Serge,having him on is such a pleasure. Check out his site to see his selection of wines. 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Feb 22, 2021
Ep 362: The Grape Miniseries -- Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)
01:02:19

Of the many grapes that we have covered in this series, possibly the hardest to define is the one in this show -- Pinot Gris. It's so complex in part because it goes by many names and can taste neutral and boring to oily, powerful, and bold with notes of smoke, ginger, and spice. It can be bone dry to amazingly sweet and can be powderpuff or very serious in quality.

 

Whatever the incarnation, wine drinkers lap it up! In the U.S., Pinot Grigio (the Italian style) is the second most-consumed wine behind Chardonnay, according to Impact Databank (the sister publication to Wine Spectator). But it's not just the US that loves this wine, it's growing like mad in Australia too. 

 

In this show, we discuss the many sides of Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio, or Grauburgunder or whatever you want to call it! Here are the show notes:

 

We first discuss the grape itself:

  • Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Grauburgunder, or Rulander are all the same grape and all are mutations of Pinot Noir, so similar to their parent that the only thing that is different is the color of the grape after veraision
  • Pinot Gris is one of the darkest skinned grapes that makes white. It's fruit is gray-blue fruit but can be brown- pink,  white or deep purple. As a result, the finished wine can have a copper tinge or be light pink 
  • The adjective gris is French for "gray" and the grape is named so because it has a grayish look to it. The gray name is used everywhere and has been adapted to local culture: Italian (grigio), German (grauer), Slovenian (sivi) and Czech (sede)
  • Pinot Gris is thin skinned and does well in cool to moderate climates with very long growing seasons.
  • Picking decision is essential to the wine's character for every wine but with Pinot Gris, it will determine whether it is insipid and neutral (picked early) or rich with higher alcohol, lower acidity and rich, full flavors like pears, apples, apricot, tropical fruit, ginger, spices, smoke, and mineral

"Pinot Grigio prior to harvest, vintage 2012" by stefano lubiana wines 
is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

We discuss some general ideas about winemaking

  • There is a sharp distinction between early picked Pinot Grigio (the Italian style) and full bodied, rich and flavorful Pinot Gris (the Alsace, France style)
  • Most cheap Pinot Grigio, in particular, is picked, fermented and brought to market quickly -- it is a cash cow
  • Pinot Grigio styles rarely use oak, but Pinot Gris (French style) often use older, neutral barrels for fermentation to give the wines texture. These styles also go through sur lie aging to give more texture to the wine 

The Growing regions and their styles:

Pinot Gris/Grigio is grown in: France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany, Romania, Canada, the U.S., Hungary, Switzerland, Russia, Moldova, China

_____________________________________________

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Around the world

Alsace, France

  • Pinot Gris is 16 % of production in Alsace
  • The grape thrives in the dry, sunny climate, with its long autumns. Yields are kept quite low and the best sites are the Grand Cru sites designated for Pinot Gris
  • Alsace Pinot Gris is layered and bold with honey, ginger, spice, and bold apricot and sometimes tropical fruit notes. It can be picked late harvest (Vendanges Tardive) or allowed to develop botrytis (noble rot) that changes the wines into unctuous, full dessert wines.
  • Occasionally these wines are oak-aged for texture, some are more medium bodied, many have residual sugar, so you must check the producer's style and web site to see how sweet the wine is
  • These wines, in the past, were substitutes for red wines and accordingly, go with fuller food
  • Top producers in Alsace: Albrecht, Blanck, Marcel Deiss, Dopff & Irion, Kuentz-Bas, Albert Mann, René Muré, Schlumberger, Trimbach

Italy

  • Growing in Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, and Trentino Alto Adige, along with a few other northern areas (Valle d'Aosta) the Italian style is always picked a bit early and has an emphasis on dry, mineral flavors
  • Unlike Alsace, where grapes develop over a long season, in Italy the goal is to harvest grapes early, and to have high yields. The result of this overcropping is dilution of flavor and a high acid wine that doesn't reflect the true character of the grape. Many experts charge that much of the Pinot Grigio planted in large vineyards is actually Pinot Bianco or even Trebbiano Toscano
  • In the winery, stainless steel tanks are used and the wine is fermented and bottled quickly but the better wines can have light oak-ageing or skin contact
  • Cheap Pinot Grigio has very little flavor or character. It is cheap and cheerful and nothing else. 
  • In Alto Adige -world-class Pinot Grigios from estate bottling are expensive but lead to nuttier, fruitier flavors that are recognizable as related to Pinot Gris. Producers include: Elena Walch, Franz Haas, Tiefenbruner, San Michele Appiano, Sanct Valentin Pinot Grigio, Alois Lageder, Cantina Terlano
  • In Friuli, Isonzo has full, tropical notes and the cooler areas of Collio and Colli Orientali produce more saline, spicy, and mineral wines that can have a spritz to them. Lis Neris, Vie di Romans, Dessimis, and Marco Felluga are good producers
  • In Valle d’Aosta, experts see high potential for these Pinot Gris to be the best in Italy – frequently mentioned by critics is Lo Triolet di Marco Martin, called Pinot Gris rather than Pinot Grigio

Germany

  • Germany ranks third in the world for Grauburgunder production. Most of that is in Rheinhessen, the Pfalz, and Baden
  • These wines tend to be lower in alcohol, higher in acidity and more mineral-driven that Alsace versions with floral, citrusy notes. All versions are made -- sparkling, dry, off-dry, and late harvest and botrytized sweet wine
  • My favorite producer is Müller-Catoir from Pfalz

 In Europe, Pinot Gris is made in...

  • Burgundy – some people still use it
  • Loire, where it's called Malvoisie
  • Switzerland, where it has floral notes and a soft texture
  • Luxembourg, where the wines are fuller
  • Slovenia, which specializes in Pinot Grigio with skin contact These skin contact wines only use a bit of contact (24 – 48 hours of skin contact is common) to give Pinot Grigio flavor without stripping the essence of the grape
  • Other places:  Austria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary

 

New World

New Zealand

  • Pinot Gris is the more like the Alsace version with a medium body and flavors like apple, pear, honeysuckle, spice, and toast
  • On the North Island, especially from Hawkes Bay and Gisbourne, you'll find ripe full, oily styles of Pinot Gris
  • On the South Island, the volume is large in Marlborough where the wines have spicy and structure but they shine when from North Canterbury. 
  • Good producers include: Seresin, Greywacke, Jules Taylor

 

The United States

  • California grows a lot of Pinot Grigio but mostly for use in jug wine or cheap "California" appellate wine. Most grows in the hot Central Valley. it is not a focus for most producers
  • Oregon is the real hotspot in the US for Pinot Gris. the area has long, moderate summer days with cooling breezes. It has a longer fall which allows Pinot Gris the space it needs to develop flavor. These wines taste like fresh cut apple, pear, underripe melon, and can be medium bodied, occasionally with oak notes
    Bigger Producers include: King Estate (the largest Pinot Gris producer), A to Z, Erath, Adelsheim, Ponzi, and Rainstorm 

 

Canada -- British Columbia 

  • 21.2% of the white wine crop in 2018, makes Pinot Gris the Queen of the whites in BC. I recall it being very serviceable to good

 

Australia

  • Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris -- the names and styles are used at will is one of the hottest, fastest growing wines
  • There are no style rules or naming conventions. The wines vary from acidic and light (Italian style) to bold and full (Alsace style). Producers often call full styles Pinot Grigio and light styles Pinot Gris. There is no convention.
  • We mention Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy of T'Gallant Wines in the Mornington Peninsula of Victoria. Kathleen Quealy was named the ‘Queen of Pinot Grigio’ back then and she still makes wine under her own label today

 

It's a lot to take in! Who would have thought that something I call alcoholic lemon water (in it's Grigio incarnation) would be so complex! 

 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Feb 16, 2021
Ep 361: Food and Wine Pairings that Inspire Love
36:11

In the tradition of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, after which aphrodisiacs are named, we give you a list of 12+ foods that inspire love and passion, and the wines to match. Date night just got more exciting!! You can let us know if any of these actually work.

William Blake Richmond, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Here's the list of the top 14 aphrodisiac foods and the wines to pair with them:

1. Watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow. Like Viagra, L-citrulline increases blood flow to the sexual organs but without any negative side effects! 

Put it in a salad with feta and arugula (rocket, also and aphrodisiac so you get a double hit of spice in your life).

Wine: Spanish rosé. I like a Monastrell-based wine because it's bolder and fruitier than some other Spanish versions, and you need that fruit to stand up to the flavors in this tasty but sweet, bitter, and salty salad. You can use a California rosé too, but Pinot Noir may be too light so get something a bit bolder and made from a different grape. 

 

2. Salmon (and other cold water fish like herring, anchovies, sardines) has lots of omega-3s, which encourage good moods, good skin, good brainpower and a good sex drive! 

Since salmon can be prepared in so many different ways, we give a few wine ideas:

  • Raw salmon (sashimi or tartare) goes well with a dry rosé (here you can use a Provence rosé) or Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain
  • Salmon in a butter sauce (beurre blanc): A slightly oaked Chardonnay like a white Burgundy or an Oregon Pinot Gris could work
  • Grilled salmon: New Zealand Pinot Noir or St. Amour from Beaujolais would be fantastic
  • Blackened salmon: Zinfandel but make sure it's not over-the-top (Here's the wine I said should be the standard for all CA Zin: Nalle Estate Old Vines Zinfandel) 

 

3. Oysters. Both because they are thought to resemble certain female body parts and because Romans in the 2nd century AD claimed that women had much prowess after eating them, oysters have become the standard for aphrodisiac food. 

Wine: If you like the magnification of salt, go for a Chablis, Muscadet, Albariño, or Champagne. If you dislike that, stick with a Bordeaux Blanc or a Côte du Rhône blanc, both of which have lower acidity so it won't make the oysters seem quite as salty. 

 

4. Asparagus. Well M.C. Ice had ALL sorts of issues with this one, but it's on all the lists I've found, so it has to make ours too. Another food that is all about increasing and maintaining sex drive, both its intrinsic properties and its "interesting" shape contribute to its effectiveness. M.C. Ice was grossed out by the smell factor and the shape argument really made him squirm. 

 

5. Avocado. 

This one comes from the Aztecs. They called the avocado tree "ahuacuatl." That means "testicle tree", because the avocados hang in pairs off the branches, so...yeah.

Wine:  Avocado is great alone or in salads, sandwiches, or with Mexican. If you are having Haas avocados, the most popular type in the U.S., you'll notice they are both creamy and nutty. What's a wine that's creamy and nutty? One of my favorite whites: Fiano di Avellino, which has a lovely almond or hazelnut finish. Arneis from Piedmont could work too. 

 

6. Carrot and ginger soup.  Here we go again with the shape thing... but carrots also have beta carotene and lots of other good for you vitamins, which Middle Easterners believed aided in making people more attractive.

Ginger is spicy and it helps get your blood flowing. It also tastes delicious when combined with carrots in a soup! 

Wine: If you're having roasted carrots (and other dishes that will fit this) you can easily pair them with a red like Côtes-du-Rhône or another Grenache-based wine that will be moderate enough to stand up to char but let the carroty flavor shine through. 

If you take our suggestion of the soup (and add coriander, which we mention is known to increase sexual appetite), you'll have a trifecta of goodness that will pair well with Alsace Riesling or a Viognier from California or from the northern Rhône. 

 

7. Truffles. I'm not talking about the chocolate kind. I'm talking about the rare kind found in the Piedmont of Italy that Greeks and Romans both claimed the musky scent of truffles made people's skin more sensitive and that's a good thing for a healthy love life.

Wine: Slightly older Barolo or Barbaresco (also from Piedmont) is a perfect fit for the earthy, barnyard, mushroom note of truffles. Especially if the truffles are with red meat, bolder versions of these Nebbiolo-based wines will be perfect matches. 

If you are having risotto or pasta with truffles, have Fiano di Avellino from Campania, or a bold white from the Rhône. I would steer clear of fruity, young wine for this pairing. 

 

8. Fennel. The ancient Greeks found this vegetable which is like a celery, licorice mash-up (both also alleged aphrodisiacs), to be a real labido enhancer. Maybe it's because it has plant estrogen in it! 

Wine: If you are have a steak with roasted fennel or a soup or stew with a fennel base, a great Northern Rhône Syrah or a more subtle California Syrah will be an excellent pairing. The flavors of a Syrah -- the rich fruit, the black pepper, and the spice will be great with the fennel notes. 

For lighter style fennel dishes like vegetarian soups with a fennel base or chicken with a fennel cream sauce, a white Rioja or a slightly oaky Chardonnay can each hold their flavor and structure against the strong celery/licorice notes well.

 

9. Figs. Like oysters, when cut open, figs allegedly resemble a female body part and for that reason they have always been considered a food for the amorous. Because having them on their own presents a tough wine pairing challenge we recommend having them with a little cheese -- goat, feta or especially blue with counter some of that natural sweetness. 

Wine: If you take the idea of having figs with cheese for your date night appetizer or tapas, you are going to need a very fruity, bold red to pair. Zinfandel, or southern Italian wines like Nero d'Avola, Primitivo (Zinfandel), and Negro Amaro can take on both the sweetness of the figs and the salty, penicillin-like note of the blue cheese. A slightly sweet tawny or ruby Port could also do the trick quite well.

 

10. Pesto (the aphrodisiac trifecta). Basil produces a sense of well-being and boosts fertility. Garlic spices up your desires. Pine nuts have zinc, which increases male potency. Put them together and bam! the most love enhancing potion there is. 

 

Wine: Pesto comes from Liguria, right near the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. Cortese di Gavi and ARneis are classic Piedmont whites that have enough flavor to stand up to the garlic, a nuttiness to go well with the pine nuts, and excellent acidity to make them stand out. If you want a light red, stick with Piedmont again -- a simple Barbera, Freisa or Grignolino will do the trick.

 

11. Dessert of strawberries, raspberries and vanilla cake or whipped cream. Strawberries and raspberries are said to invite love. Latin American legend tells us that the vanilla plant was created when a beautiful young girl fell in love with a boy from the wrong class, and when a god asked for her hand and she said no, he got so angry he turned her into a vanilla plant. 

Wine:  The honeyed, apricot flavors and good acidity of Sauternes or Barsac from Bordeaux would be excellent dessert partners. A late harvest (Auslese) Riesling from Mosel would be great or a lighter style fizzy wine like Moscato d'Asti also work wonders with berry vanilla desserts. Each of these ideas would work but my favorite pairing for berry vanilla desserts is demi sec Champagne

12. Wine! All on it's own, is an aphrodisiac in a bottle! Whether it's because your inhibitions go away or because alcohol also increases blood flow, red wine and Champagne, specifically, have been praised for raising the libidos and amorous intentions of those who consume it (in moderation). Apart from Champagne, which is always a great wine to pair with any food, and to liven up any dinner, here are some love inspired wines to consider:

  • Romeo and Juliet, the greatest love story of all time, lived in the city of Verona. To pay homage, drink the bold reds of the region: Valpolicella and Amarone

  • If you want the more pious route, you could pay homage to St. Valentine, the patron of love, marriage, and relationships. His relics are in a few key spots around Europe and you can choose which you like best for your wine selection!

1. St. Valentine's remains lie in Rome. Although Lazio's wines are a bit lacking, you could get a Sagrantino di Montefalco from Umbria (it borders Lazio in the northeast) or a lovely Piedirosso or Aglianico from Campania (borders Lazio to the south). Close enough, and these are great reds!

 

2. Relics of St. Valentine's are also in Madrid. There are some wines coming from Madrid now, but if you can't find those, get the rich reds of Ribera del Duero to inspire love. If you prefer white, get the whites of Rueda, in the same zone as Ribera del Duero, due north of Madrid. 

 

3. It's a little unclear whether the relics in Roquemaure in the Rhône are the real deal, but if it justifies drinking Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is across the river, I'll go with it! 

**Note: there are also a ton of St. Valentine stuff in Dublin, so if you want a Guinness, that works too! 

Whether its for Valen-wine, date night, or to test the properties of these aphrodisiac foods, we wish you a fun filled night! 

Sources: 

____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
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Feb 08, 2021
Ep 360: Touraine and its Red and White Jewels of the Loire Valley
49:25

Touraine is in the Middle Loire Valley, and it has a myriad of pockets with famed and delicious wines. We give an overview of this region and discuss its most famous areas (Vouvray, Chinon, Bourgueil), which make some of the most distinctive, complex red and white wines in the world.

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Touraine is in the heart of the Loire Valley, half-way between Sancerre and Nantes, 225 km/140 mi from the Atlantic Ocean, and from the northern Massif Central
  • Touraine follows the Loire River for 100 KM/60 miles, and has 5,000 hectares /12,355 acres of vineyards
  • Dry and sweet white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines are all made here
  • The soil is varied, containing three main types:
    • Tuffeau: calcareous rock that produces wines of great acidity
    • Perruche: flint and clay with pockets of gravel, near the river
    • Limestone and clay, with pockets of gravel, near the river
  • The climate is Atlantic in the west, more continental as you move east.

"Thésée-la-Romaine (Loir-et-Cher)" by sybarite48 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. Click here to view a copy of this license,

Grapes

  • White is 59% of production: Sauvignon Blanc (nearly 80% of whites), with Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Arbois and Sauvignon Gris, Pinot Gris
  • Red is 22% of production and Rosé is (8%): Gamay makes up more than 60% of harvest, with Cabernet Franc, Malbec (aka Côt), Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Merlot
  • Sparkling -- 11% -- Crémant de Loire

 

The rest of the show is spent on appellations…

The Famed Red Appellations

Chinon

  • Chinon is the biggest red AOC in Loire
  • It is on the western edge of the Touraine district, with multiple soil types, a combination of maritime and continental climates and, as a result, different styles of wines depending on site
  • Reds are of Cabernet Franc (90% with up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) make up 95% of production, with a small amount of whites of Chenin Blanc and rosé
  • Styles: light with red fruit, simple with good acidity or wines with dark black fruit with gamy, campfire, decayed leaf, earth notes and structure, power 
  • Aging: Most are best young, some 10 and 20 years.

Pascal et Alain Lorieux Chinon, Serge Doré Selections (the best Chinon I've ever had!)

 

Bourgueil & St. Nicolas de Bourgueil

  • North of Chinon, these wines are similar to those of Chinon – some are powerful, some are lighter in style, depending on the soil types and sites
  • Nicolas de Bourgueil is within Bourgueil (and can use the Bourgueil appellation) but the soils of this sub AOC are sandy, so the wines are lighter in style with soft tannins, and are meant to be consumed young.

Pascal et Alain Lorieux St. Nicholas de Bourgueil, Serge Doré Selections (the best St. Nicholas de Bourgueil I've ever had!)

 

The Famed White Appellations

Vouvray: Chenin Blanc

  • These Chenin Blanc wines are complex, diverse and varied due to differences in climate (some sites are more maritime influenced, some more continental), soil (some have tuffeau jaune, some tuffeau blanc, some alluvial), and slope direction (depending on tributary)
  • The wines can be dark or golden or very pale, have hay-like notes with apple, honey, citrus, wool aromas and flavors. Textures run the gamut – some are big and soft, some are dry and more refreshing.
  • Still Wines: Lots of sweetness levels – that are not always used on the labels so you don’t know what you’re going to get! Sec, Sec-Tendre, Demi-Sec, Moelleux (sometimes with botrytis). Top wines can age for decades
  • Sparkling: petillant (spritzy) and mousseux (fully sparkling) – neither the fizziness nor the sweetness is always marked clearly

2015 Bourillon Dorléans "La Coulée d'Argent" Vouvray -- what we drank during the podcast, Divine! Also Serge Doré Selections

 

Montlouis Sur Loire:

  • Vouvray’s sister appellation, it is across the river from Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis-sur-Loire, and is based on Chenin. These wines are similar to Vouvray and have the same confusing labelling problems, but also can be long lived, developing honeyed, spicy notes with time (30-40 years)

 

 

The other appellations of Touraine with their grapes are:

Northern areas

Coteaux du Loir: Whites of Chenin Blanc, reds with Pineau d’Aunis (min 65%) with Cabernet Franc, Côt, and Gamay. Rosé can be Côt, Gamay, Grolleau with Pineau d’Aunis

 

Coteaux du Vendomois:  Strangely, this appellation’s grapes are dictated by the percentage of the grapes in the vineyards, not by what is in the final blend. Whites are mainly of Chenin Blanc (80% of vineyards) with 20% Chardonnay. Reds are from Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, with Gamay. Rosés are 100% Pineau d’Aunis.

 

Jasnières is a small appellation with dry white of 100% Chenin Blanc.

 

 

Touraine District level designations

Touraine is a generic regional AOC but within it are 5 designations with unique wines:

  • Touraine Amboise is rosé and red of Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Côt with whites of Chenin Blanc
  • Touraine Azay-le Rideau is whites and rosés. Rosés are a minimum of 60% Grolleau, with Gamay, Côt or Cabernet Franc. Whites are made from 100% Chenin, and can be sec, demi-sec and sweet
  • Touraine-Mesland is reds and rosés that are a blend of Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Côt, Whites are Chenin Blanc but may be blended with Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
  • Touraine-Oisly (wah-LEE) is mainly white with tropical, fatter Sauvignon Blanc that has less minerality and acidity than Sancerre, for example.
  • Touraine Chenonceaux has similar whites to Touraine-Oisly of Sauvignon Blanc and reds of Cabernet Franc (35% – 50%) and Côt ( 50% – 85%)
  • Touraine Noble Joué is a Vin Gris (rosé) of Pinot Meunier (main varietal, minimum 40%), Pinot Gris (minimum 20%), Pinot Noir (minimum 10%)

 

 

Eastern areas

  • Cheverny makes reds, rosé, and whites.
    • Reds are light in style, and are made with Gamay and Pinot Noir with some Cabernet France and Côt
    • Rosé: must be at least 60% Pinot Noir with Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Côt
    • Whites are Sauvignon Blanc with Sauvignon Gris with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Arbois (spelled Orbois
    • The area contains Cour-Cheverny, made from the rare Romorantin grape – which is light and aromatic with citrus and honeyed notes

 

Valençay makes whites of mainly Sauvignon Blanc, with Chardonnay, Arbois, Sauvignon Gris and reds mainly of Gamay.

____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

Feb 02, 2021
Ep 359: Barra of Mendocino on Mendocino Wine, Organic Farming, & the Business of a Family Wine Company
56:06

The Barra Family has been farming grapes since Charlie Barra began in 1945 when he was 19. He bought his own vineyards in 1955 and married Martha Barra in the 1980s. The couple made the business run in earnest, with Martha concentrating on business and Charlie focused on farming.

In 1988, the Barras began farming their land organically and haven’t stopped since. They started their own brand, Barra of Mendocino in 1995, which today includes Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Muscat Canelli. After creating Barra of Mendocino, they created Girasole (sunflower in Italian) Vineyards, a lighter style with no oak.

Charlie passed away in 2019 but Martha and the family carry on with Randy Meyer, Barra's Director of Winemaking and Operations playing a major role in the business. As you’ll hear, Randy is a live wire and as we talk about organics about halfway through the show,  he unabashedly shares the secrets of conventional winemaking and how it is in sharp contrast to organics (and he knows, he spent 20+ years at Korbel and other large wineries). And it’s awesome.

Here are the show notes.

  • Martha shares the fascinating history of Barra and how Charlie Barra’s dedication to Redwood Valley, to Mendocino and to farming the right way brought about these excellent wines. We hear the family story, a 40+ year legacy


  • We delve into the economics of Mendocino fruit and how big Napa and Sonoma County wines couldn’t make their wines at affordable prices without Mendocino (the rule of 75% reigns here – only 75% of grapes need come from an AVA for it to be stated on the label. Where do you think that other 25% comes from?)

Yup, this is what I thought. Taken from an old publication, Courtesy of the Barra family

 

  • Martha and Randy tell us about Mendocino's and Redwood Valley's geographical and weather features – and how diurnals make these wines so special. Randy gives us a great perspective of how Mendocino is different from Sonoma and Napa on temperature, terrain, and culture.

  • Martha tells us the basics of organic farming, including the US laws around organic viticulture and wines. In short...
    • They use no “cides” (herbicides, pesticides, etc), no chemicals, no fertilizers and use pomace and cover crops to nourish the vines. Martha gives us details on how it all works to get healthy soils and healthy vines
    • Martha gives us the tip off for spotting a non-organic vineyard – “spray strips” of pesticides around the vines. It’s her tell-tale for a chemically treated vineyard

 

To round out the show, Randy gives us the lowdown on organics versus non-organic! We have a good time talking about his journey into the world of organics from large industrial wine (he spills so much for us and he’s hysterical!):

  • Randy talks about how organic winemaking is about prevention -- getting it right in the vineyard and during crush so you don't have to fix things later. He talks candidly about the challenge of making wine without sulfites (they help make wine shelf stable and provide longevity).

  • Then stuff gets real!! I ask Randy, who is really at the beginning of his organic winemaking career, after years of working at big wineries, to compare and contrast. We bust it all open and Randy tells us all about the “tricks” of big wine. Randy contrasts organic winemaking with other winemaking. You'll never buy big wine again!

 

Finally, we talk about the Barra of Mendocino's wines and the Girasole wines and how they differ

  • Barra of Mendocino are wines selected from the best grapes and aged in about 30% new French oak (We dork out again on barrels, digging into what oak does to a wine and how different toast levels affect the juice)
  • Girasole is a fresher style with no oak

__________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

Jan 26, 2021
Ep 358: Mendocino, California
46:21

Just over the county line from Sonoma is the fascinating region of Mendocino. Mendocino is a large county that spans one California’s largest, most diverse, and northernmost wine growing regions. This quiet area, full of farmers who are passionate about the land, has just over 17,000 acres under vine in 12 appellations.

From www.avwines.com, Anderson Valley, Mendocino

As we dig into what is here, you will learn that this region is full of surprises. Not only is Mendocino termed the “organic wine mecca of California” for its meticulous care of the land and focus on organic certification, it's range of terroir means producers can make everything from sophisticated, earthy, cool climate Pinot Noir and Alsace varietals, to elegant sparkling wine, to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

From www.mendowine.com; Shannon Ridge Winery

There is a myriad of climates, soils and elevations in Mendocino, and learning more will make you question why more wineries aren’t based here and why these wines are not more widely available and known to wine lovers.

www.mendowine.com: Gibson Vineyard, Hopland

 

___________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

Jan 19, 2021
Ep 357: The Role of Alcohol in Wine
53:34

It’s the first show of our 10th year! WOW! And for our double digit birthday, this time we bring you a super dorky one that is so important to understand in wine. I have already professed it the dorkiest show of 2021, and I’m pretty sure I can’t top this so – Voilà!

First we have some fun, and challenge you to follow the three wine resolutions/challenges I’ve set forth! They are so easy, even I can keep them:

  1. Have a wine from a region you’ve never heard of or had before! Expand your palate, do a little research, and try something totally new. 

  2. Have wine from a region that you have hated in the past. Wine is constantly changing, especially with climate change so a region you may have thought was yucky in the past, may very well have turned into your next favorite wine hub!

  3. Drink more of the wine you love but always forget about! We all have one of those. When you get it you say to yourself, “why don’t I drink more of this? It’s so great!”

Here are the show notes on the role of alcohol in wine:

__________________________________________

Alcohol levels are largely determined in the vineyard:

  • Sugar is converted to alcohol during fermentation, so sugar levels in a vineyard are essential to determining how much potential alcohol a wine can have. From véraison (when grapes start to get color) to ripening, grapes accumulate glucose and fructose. 
  • How much sugar depends on the vineyard conditions-- light, water, vineyard management are important
    • Cooler climates, elevation, north-facing slopes yield lower potential alcohols
    • Irrigation matters in determining sugar levels some studies show glucose and fructose is higher in irrigated vines than non-irrigated ones (see Beverages Journal below, Imbibe Magazine)
    • Vineyard practices like canopy management (chopping off leaves - plant doesn't absorb as much sunlight) or green harvesting (cutting grape bunches before they ripen, can focus on ripening the few that are left) help increase or decrease sugars.
      • We discuss the idea of phenolic ripeness and how that quest for flavor has led to higher alcohol levels
      • We also discuss how early picking, which seems like a natural solution, can lead to higher acid levels, less complexity, sometimes green notes in the wine – often just LESS GOOD flavor!

 

Alcohol in winemaking (how it gets into wine):

  • Yeast convert fermentable grape sugars to alcohol either from ambient yeast or by inoculated yeast.

Sugar + Yeast = Alcohol +Carbon Dioxide (+heat)

  • Potential alcohol (often measured by must weight) is how much sugar is available to the yeast in the grape must.
    • if you don’t have enough, you can chaptalize with cane or beet sugar to raise alcohol levels (this has NOTHING to do with sugar in a wine, only with raising alcohol during fermentation)
  • During fermentation/maceration: Alcohol produces esters by working with the organic acids in the very acidic fermenting juice.

alcohol + acid = ester

  • Yeast play a big role in alcohol production, obviously. When yeast make alcohol, they kill themselves and other strains take over to finish the fermentation

Mark Smith, CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

 

  • Alcohol is a strong solvent so it can extract stuff out of the grape must (mushed up grape soup after crush)
    • Bitter and astringent notes from seeds, skins, stems come out as alcohol levels increase, so winemakers have to be careful not to over-extract bitter compounds when the alcohol levels are high at the end of fermentation.
      • Cold Soaking can help: The wine stays at -10˚C for up to one week, so anthocyanins can come out without the bitterness.
  • Other benefits of Alcohol in winemaking
    • Alcohol is anti-microbial
    • Alcohol is a preservative during the wine maturation process.

 

Alcohol Measurement:

  • Alcohol by volume (ABV): milliliters of alcohol present in 100ml of wine expressed as a percentage.
  • Wines range from 5% - 25% alcohol. Factors like climate, grape variety, and winemaking play a role
  • What’s low, medium and high alcohol levels: My Judgement
    • Low Alcohol: Under 11.5%, and are often sweet and light – German Kabinett wines, Moscato d’Asti are examples
    • Medium Alcohol: 11.5 -12.5%
      • Medium-low: 11.5% - 12% ABV – Lambrusco, some Loire whites, some German and Austrian Whites, some northern Italian
      • Medium- 12.5% - 13.5% -- This is about the average for dry wines in Europe. Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Champagne, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Rosé, many Chilean wines are in this range
    • High Alcohol14%+ -- Nearly all New World Wines, many Spanish and Portuguese reds, Argentinean reds, Southern Italian wines, some southern French wines
    • Fortified/VERY High Alcohol – 15%+ Usually fortified but can just be really ripe and not de-natured

 

The Perception of Alcohol:

Alcohol activates smell, taste, and feel (the burn) receptors

  • We perceive alcohol as a combo of sweet and bitter taste and the burning sensation (similar to a chili pepper) and some of this is genetic -- some people perceive alcohol as sweetness, some as more bitter (also has to do with concentration of alcohol:
  • Body: viscosity, fullness are directly related to alcohol content
  • Alcohol amplifies astringency, bitterness and acidity. Higher residual sugar is often used to counter this issue
  • there is no predetermined alcohol level that will create balance, this is the ART
  • VA: lots of alcohol means it can seem vinegar like

 

Alcohol Levels and Taxes:

  • For the wonks among us, we discuss how alcohol is taxed in the US, UK, EU and Canada. You may be surprised at how it’s calculated!

 

We wrap with some interesting ways winemakers reduce alcohol in wine

  • We reiterate the importance of getting it right in the vineyard
  • Humidification/ watering back: is a very common practice. You add water and it dilutes alcohol (and flavor)
  • Semi-permeable membranes to separate alcohol from wine
  • Reverse osmosis: wine passes through a membrane to strip it of ethanol. It is performed at low temperatures and aims to change only the wine alcohol content, and it usually results in 1-2% reduction. It is cheap, but it has been found to reduce complexity, mouthfeel, and affect aging in red wines.
  • Spinning cone column: uses centrifugal force and steam, to separate water from alcohol. The water is then recombined with the color, flavor, and tannins and poured back into the wine to dilute the alcohol while keeping flavor. This is very expensive yet effective

Source: Flavourtech

 

____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

 

___________________________________________________________

Podcast Sources:

Beverages 2015, 1, 292-310; doi:10.3390/beverages1040292

https://daily.sevenfifty.com/taking-control-of-alcohol-levels-in-wine/

https://imbibemagazine.com/dry-farmed-wine/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_cone

https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Wine-equalisation-tax/

https://www.decanter.com/learn/tax-wine-much-pay-uk-ask-decanter-357119/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.14631

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/excise-duties-alcohol-tobacco-energy/excise-duties-alcohol_en

Jan 11, 2021
Ep 356: The Historic Champagne Lanson with Hervé Dantan, Cellarmaster
01:03:00

Founded in 1760 as the 4th Champagne house, Champagne Lanson is known for its fresh, acidic style (no malolactic fermentation!). Over its 260 years, it has stayed true to its principles and that original flavor profile.

In this show, Hervé Dantan, cellarmaster and Champagne native, gives us a unique perspective. Hervé is the son of grape growers in Champagne, and after graduating from enology school, he did  internships in Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace, and in California to learn about regions around the world.

At 25 years old only he became one of the youngest cellar master in Champagne. He joined Champagne Lanson in 2013 and in 2015, Hervé Dantan became the Chef de Cave of Champagne Lanson

This podcast is different from others in that Hervé discusses the land and the vineyard. His perspective is so very different from many in the region, who choose instead to focus on the process in the winery. For you as listeners -- meaning dorky normal wine people -- I think you will appreciate the conversation. It's much less marketing and much more meat of how Champagne is truly made. 

Here are some of the topics we cover: 

  • Hervé discusses the origins of Lanson -- how it was the 4th Champagne house founded and how, whereas others have decided to change their styles to something fatter and fuller bodied over time, Lanson has kept it crisp style that forgoes malolactic fermentation for bright, dancing fruit, pure acidity.

  • We discuss the importance of relationship with growers, understanding the land in Champagne, and how Lanson sources its grapes. They use fruit from 100 of the 320 Cru villages that make up the Champagne Appellation. More than 50% of all the grapes that Lanson uses come from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages (30% is normal for Champagne). 

 

  • Hervé tells us about the different regions of Champagne and the value each serves in the blend.

 

  • We discuss the organic and biodynamic viticulture projects of Lanson and what Hervé and his team have learned from growing grapes in this manner. We discuss the difficulty of total certification in Champagne, and Hervé discusses the importance of sustainable certification. In this, Hervé also tells us how Lanson is dealing with climate change, mainly by working in the vineyard and with nature to adapt. 

 

  • We discuss the most difficult part of Hervé's job -- assembling the blends. He gives great detail into how it's done and what goes into making each type of wine (hint: the non-vintage wine is the hardest to make!)

 

  • We talk process and I ask about two things I've always wondered about:
    • Why having the disgorgement date on the bottle is important 
    • Is there a noticeable difference in quality between using a gyropalette and remuage/riddling by hand

 

  • Hervé, as a native of Champagne, tells us how he pairs the wine with food. Here are some of his ideas:
    • Always as an aperitif and with cheese
    • Chardonnay-based Champagne with seafood
    • Blancs de Noir/Vintage/Rosé Champagne with white meat or with dishes that are both sweet and salty
    • Old vintage Champagne with some red meats

 

  • Not surprising, when asked about the future for Lanson and Champagne, Hervé told us it's all about the vineyard! Amen! 

___________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! And get an eGift Card for the holidays and Wine Access will donate 10% of the proceeds to one of my favorite charities: No Kid Hungry.  It's a great charity that helps end childhood hunger. 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

 
Dec 28, 2020
Ep 355: The 8 Holiday Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers (plus 5 wine gag gifts to make you laugh)
39:14

It's the end of the year and there's still time to get interesting and USEFUL gifts for the wine lovers in your life. We covered basics of glassware and gadgets in Episode 338, but this pod covers some cool gift ideas that aren't essentials but, rather, nice to haves (or just damn funny to know about in the case of the 5 gag gifts!). Here's the run down of our recommendations (in no particular order so don't read into it!) 

Disclosure: Some of the products contain affiliate links so I may make a small amount if you buy the products below but no one has paid me or gifted me these products so I'll put them on the list.

The Real Gifts

1. Brumate Winesulator and 2 Uncork'd XL wine tumblers with lids, $59.99-$69.99
What is it: If you travel to the beach, go camping, or hang out outdoors in warm weather, you know that glass bottles and drink ware are a no-no. At the beach glass is illegal, for camping and hiking the risk of breakage is high, and in warm weather your wine temperatures rise and can skunk the wine while it sits in glass. Enter the Brumate Winesulator. Pour the wine into this insulated bottle and it will keep it cool for 24 hours (so it claims. Even if it's not that long, it will be long enough for you to down it!).  

Why we like it: The cups are akin to the Yeti Tumblers that we recommend in Ep 338 and they will keep the wine at a great temperature too. This is a completely practical gift that the recipient wind up using frequently once they have it.                  

 

2. Sipski Silicone Wine Glass Holder for the Bath & Shower $14.99

What is it: As I say in the show, I have no idea why I find myself in the shower with a wine glass so often (M.C. Ice blames it on our kids), but I do. This is a wine glass holder that suctions right onto your shower wall.

Why we like it: My main problems with wine in the bathroom are twofold:

    • I worry the glass will break if I perch it on the side of the shower
    • Water gets into the glass if I put it on the floor of the shower and dilutes the flavor.

The Sipski seems to solve both problems. Know anyone with these pressing issues? This is a perfect gift.

 

3. The Durand for old bottles and fragile corks $125

What is it: I think their site says it best: The Durand® removes "compromised and fragile corks, whole and intact, from older, valued wines. The Durand has been repeatedly tested on the most challenging corks. It has performed consistently and flawlessly."

 

Why we like it: I have to admit, I don't drink enough fine, old wine to justify buying this device, but I do know people how own it and they love it. I will admit that I've unwittingly made my own makeshift Durand using a corkscrew and a two-pronged cork puller, but this is far more practical, slicker, and makes more sense! This is perfect for a wine lover who has a big cellar with lots of old bottles

 

 

4. CORAVIN, Model Three, $149.95

What is it: Coravin is the biggest innovation in wine since the invention of the corkscrew. Coravin was a sponsor of the pod for a brief time and their founder, Greg Lambrecht, came on to talk about this invention process. He's a biotech guy who figured out how to insert a needle into a cork, take out wine and replace it with argon gas, without introducing oxygen to the wine.

Why we like it: It is pricey, but if you know someone who likes to try a lot of different bottles instead of opening one and sticking with it for the night, or if someone is the lone wine drinker in his or her house, this is the best investment going. It works so well and I use it all the time, especially when I teach classes and don't want to open five bottles in a night! It is perfect if you just want a glass of wine on a Tuesday night but don't want the whole bottle. This is the gold standard for any wine lover and you will be much beloved if you gift this!

 

 

5. A Wine Access Gift Card (you choose the amount)

What is it: Yes, they are my sponsor for the show and they did sponsor this podcast but they didn't put me up to putting them on the list. I could have been more generic about a "wine gift card" but I truly believe that Wine Access has top notch products and that the best gift card for wine you could get someone is an  eGift card to their site.

Why we like it: I have worked with them for more than a year and I can tell you that the wines are awesome. They have a great team who only selects 1 in 18 bottles they try. They have excellent customer service, can guarantee that every bottle comes directly from the winery (no weird second-hand stuff), and they have perfect temperature controlled storage so every bottle comes to you in perfect shape. I also love the materials each bottle comes with -- pairings, serving temperatures, educational information -- it's all here. So yes, they are my sponsor, but there's a reason for that. They are top shelf and if you get someone a gift card from them, they will thank you a hundred times over.

Bonus: If you are pressed for time, this is an eGift card -- it gets there within seconds of you registering it!
(*Not available in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah.)

 

6. Murray’s Cheese Shop: Red Wine Lover's Collection Basket, $95

What is it: Being a native New Yorker means I'm partial to all things New York, and Murray's Cheese (the original location is on Bleeker Street in the East Village) is one of those things. A going concern for more than 80 years, Murray's has its own cellar where they age their cheeses, trained staff, and all around exceptional cheeses.

Why we like it: This collection has a bunch of great cheeses that will pair with reds (and if you don't want to fork over the $95 plus shipping, you can use their list as a guide and make your own basket!). Another great one for a last minute gift -- it's shipped within two days so it will get to your wine and cheese lover fast!

 

7. The Outdoor Wine Table, $58.00 at Uncommongoods.com 

What is it: Another great gift for outdoor wine enjoyment, this is the perfect little table for people who picnic, like hanging out outdoors, or who go to a hell of a lot of sports games to watch their kids play 😂. The collapsible table holds a bottle, two stems and a small cheese plate.

Why we like it: A classy gift at a fair price. The only hitch -- it's on backorder so you'll have to order it, print out a picture, and tell your friend or loved one that the gift is on the way!

 

8.  The Wine For Normal People Book ($22/priceless) and/or
a Gift Certificate to take a class ($42 per class)

Yes, I wrote a book. I think it's pretty good AND I think you should give it to someone you know and love! If you buy it and send the receipt to hello (at) winefornormalpeople (dot) com, I'll make your gift a one-of-a-kind and send you a customized bookplate that you can stick in the cover. Tell me who you want me to address it to and it's yours.

 

And the Wine For Normal People Online Wine School starts its 7th year in 2021. I'm not teaching online because of trends, I've been at this a very long time! $42 for two people gets you 1.5-2 hours of high energy, information packed classes that always sell out for a reason -- you won't get this kind of class anywhere else. I'll make you laugh and think, and I may even torture you with some bad food pairings, but all in the service of super wine dorkery. 

 

The Gag Gifts...

These are scattered throughout in the podcast, but here are the links to some of the funniest things we found this year in wine gag gifts (plus a reprisal of an old favorite:

 

  1. Primeware Insulated Drink Purse w/ 3L Bladder Bag, $45 

  2. Forum Novelties Smuggle Your Booze Tampon Flask Standard, $11

  3. The Original WineRack Booze Bra Flask - Adjustable Design - Holds 25oz of Booze (Grey, Medium), $25

  4.  FlaskScarf Women's Jersey Infinity Novelty Flask Scarf (Hidden 8 Ounce Bladder)$27

  5.  Champagne Bottle Straws 12 Pack ($4.48 of everything is wrong with this. The answer to: You know you have a drinking problem when...)

[____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! And get an eGift Card for the holidays and Wine Access will donate 10% of the proceeds to one of my favorite charities: No Kid Hungry.  It's a great charity that helps end childhood hunger. 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

 
Dec 15, 2020
Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château La Cardonne's Magali Guyon
56:58

Magali Guyon has been the technical director/ winemaker of Château La Cardonne in the Médoc of Bordeaux for more than 20 years. Having worked in Bordeaux for some of the biggest names – she is the former winemaker at Château Lynch-Bages – she represents the best of the best in Bordeaux. Château La Cardonne was recently awarded the prestigious Cru Bourgeois Supérieur title as well. 

In this show, we take a different look at the Médoc (the prestigious Left Bank of Bordeaux) and approach it as a proposition of growing and terroir – not of pretty chateaux and expensive wines. Magali helps us reframe the discussion of Bordeaux to show us that the true essence of Bordeaux is the vineyard and the land.

 

Here are the show notes/discussion topics:

  • The location, size, and the major water, soil, climate, and other influences in the Médoc

Map from Vins du Médoc

  • The soils and the differences between the various types of gravel, the clay-limestone, and the limestone bedrock that could be particularly suited to white wine in the future (yes, we do discuss the possibility of a Blanc appellation for Médoc)

 

  • The flat aspect of Bordeaux and how diurnals must make up for what it lacks in altitude or slope

  • The grapes of the Médoc – mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. We talk about what type of land is well-suited to each grape and what matters when it comes to good viticulture

 

  • The many separate areas/AOCs –Margaux, St. Julien, Pauiilac, Listrac, Moulis, St. Estèphe, and the wider areas of Haut-Médoc and Médoc. We talk about the similarities (the oceanic climate) and the differences (nuances in climate and soil)

 

  • I ask Magali about why there are no wines that tout “old vines” or Vieilles Vignes on their labels in Bordeaux. She explains why that could be.

  • Climate change and the challenges of strictly organic or biodynamic viticulture are a big topic. We also talk about the new grape varieties – Touriga Nacional, Marselan, Arinarnoa, and Castets – and the potential for a few of them. We address the importance of tradition and how keeping wines stylistically true to the region is a priority

 

After an in-depth conversation on Médoc, we discuss Château la Cardonne.

  • Magali explains why she vinifies each lot separately – plot by plot. We discuss how important it is for a vigneron to be in charge of both vineyards and winemaking. We talk about the use of oak and how it is viewed in Bordeaux (as a way to provide controlled oxidation and tannin stabilization, NOT as a “spice rack” as it is in the New World) and why many vigneron are trading barrels for amphora
  •  

 

  • Château La Cardonne ages the wines before release in their famous “Cathedral” . It is 2020 at the time of the show and they are just releasing their 2010 wine

Photo credit: Vins du Médoc

  • We discuss the “caste system” of Bordeaux and how frustrating it is that the classification systems suppress the reputation and excellent wines of places not included in these old rankings. On the positive side, we discuss how that translates to value for us as wine lovers (La Cardonne is a mere US$25)

 


We wrap with a brief discussion of women in Bordeaux, the benefit of foreign investment in Bordeaux (Château La Cardonne is owned by a Hong Kong-based company), and how the future for Bordeaux is exciting and full of possibilities.

 

The show is a great new way to look at Bordeaux. Forget chateaux: look at the land!

*Unless specified otherwise all photos from the Instagram feed of Chateau La Cardonne

____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! And get an eGift Card for the holidays and Wine Access will donate 10% of the proceeds to one of my favorite charities: No Kid Hungry.  It's a great charity that helps end childhood hunger. 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

To sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

To get a Gift Certificate for a Wine For Normal People class for your loved one go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes!

And for a customized, signed bookplate for a gift, send your receipt to hello (at) winefornormalpeople (dot)    com

Dec 08, 2020
Ep 353: Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny
43:18

This is a transcript of the first part of the podcast. The second part of the show discusses these points in more detail. 

 

Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny

After mulling over the various scandals in wine lately, and thinking about my position in the wine world, I have a perspective to add beyond just a social media post to call out the behavior of those in the wine business, those who have minimized the situation, and the hollow calls for change that likely won’t happen.

 

Part I: What’s in the news, and what I have seen…

If you missed it, in the past few months, a spate of “scandals” has broken out in the wine world regarding women in wine.

 

First, it was the #winebitch scandal in the United Kingdom. This occurred when a well-known TV wine personality from the “Wine Show” in the UK and his cronies passed around text messages debasing young female and “softer” male wine influencers. I didn’t see these messages before they were removed from the web, but I’ve heard from those who did that the threads were raunchy, rude rants. They were also far-reaching – covering everything from the lack of value of these people’s contributions to the wine world (one could say that topic is at least ok to discuss although not in the manner raised) to criticizing their looks, children, and families (not even remotely ok).

 

On the heels of this, an exposé in the New York Times revealed that the highest-ranking men of the cult of Master Sommeliers, as I like to call it and have written about before, have been demanding sexual favors and even raping (young) women in exchange for guaranteed career advancement. I have made the argument for a long time that the Court of Master Sommeliers is an exclusive in-crowd of people who know each other and who dictate membership based not only on skill but on favoritism. Apparently, that favoritism stretches far beyond the run of the mill BS that I had speculated about.

 

Is this surprising? No. When I worked at the big hulking winery in the mid-2000s, executive assistants who had been there for 35 years told me that the senior executives and owners used to say wildly inappropriate things to them, and kiss and grope them while they were trying to work. Although these women tried (literally) to run away from these predators, this mistreatment was acceptable behavior and the women’s silence was the only way to maintain employment.

 

I’m not excusing the behavior, but maybe this legacy means we need to take a historical view to understand the issues. Wine in the United States is an old school industry. Its very structure is based on something that was set up in 1933 after Congress’s failed attempt to ban alcohol through a constitutional amendment. Doubting the public could handle itself properly, Congress encouraged states to set up roadblocks and a three-tier system that treats adults as children with choices made for them about what, when, and how they can buy wine, gives certain huge producers and distributors power over markets, and in certain states, despite Supreme Court rulings, denies citizens the ability to procure the wines they prefer to drink.

 

Further, for those in the industry, if you don’t drink copious amounts with your customers and co-workers, and if you are a woman not willing to be a good old boy and listen to piggish talk and smoke cigars, you’re a pariah. It’s an industry based on power in the hands of the few (like many industries).

 

The deification of sommeliers, who completely disconnect with the very people they are supposed to serve in pursuit of a title that will give them power, is another outgrowth of this. The conclusion: the wine industry is based on other people who apparently know better than you (whomever you are), making decisions for you that you may or may not agree with. The recent scandals prove that little has changed since the incidents of the “Mad Men” era the women at the big winery told me about. And as more women have entered the industry, the opportunities for this kind of behavior have just multiplied.  Sexism in the wine industry is a subtle symphony of quiet misogyny.

 

 

As for me, I can’t count the number of times I have been ignored when I am in a group of industry men talking about wine. I am usually invisible to them and generally have no value. When I am with MC Ice in a setting that is not for podcast fans and listeners, men ask him the questions about wine even after he tells them what I do. And although I was too old and not cute enough to be a candidate for sexual harassment when I entered wine (I’m not sad about this, don’t worry!), the invisibility factor and belittlement factor was high with my male colleagues and bosses.

 

Women in high positions in wine are also guilty of this type of behavior – ignoring those they feel are unimportant or who lack status (men and women at conferences will ignore me until someone else tells them my audience is large and then there’s huge interest on their part, huge disgust on mine). Plenty of women in wine are just about self-preservation. In fact, an article by Jancis Robinson is nothing short of a “there’s nothing to see here” rant about how the younger generation has social media to make “a fuss” as she puts it. She argues that change should come for the economic viability of the wine industry, not for the absolute immorality of the acts of misogyny and inequality. I fear that her stance and that of those who support her show us that many women of the old guard are equally at fault for ignoring what goes on in the real world with normal wine people, AKA, the unwashed masses.

 

 

Part II: The Solution -- No, it’s not more women’s only groups or women’s scholarships

I don’t really consider myself part of the industry -- I chose to blaze my own path and work with what I consider to be the best sides of wine – producers and wine drinkers – and abandon the business for the very reasons I just described. Because of that I often stay out of these debates. But this is one that I need to discuss. Because like everything else in wine, the issue has been framed in a way that just doesn’t work and won’t bring structural change.

 

So now I’d like to talk about the fix. Because the fix is not letting the men and women with stale ideas in the wine industry and financial interest steer this ship. And this is what is happening now. The wine industry LOVES to take the issue of the day, elevate it, and sweep it under the rug, or marginalize it so it becomes a splinter group. That’s what I see happening now: women’s initiatives! Let’s create a group to forward the cause of Women in Wine! Let’s make it so that women get promoted and we have our own safe space! Let’s give scholarships to women!

 

This tack lacks imagination and accomplishes nothing: We’ve already done this and it doesn’t work. The large corporations become sponsors of these “women-first” organizations so the problems they themselves create in the industry can’t be discussed in an open forum. Further, often the events are too costly and in places where the people who would benefit most can’t afford to get to (Napa and New York ain’t cheap). And frankly, once these organizations are off the ground, the women form their own in-crowd and never reach the people who may need the most help; Think of the young woman starting out in wine in Alabama who may be getting harassed but has nowhere to turn, or the sommelier in Omaha who has been told she can’t advance because men won’t take her seriously at a steakhouse. The elite women’s groups and scholarships for the few lucky enough to get them do nothing to help the majority of women.

 

And while I applaud the people who are trying to lift up other women (unlike many in the old guard who feel they need to keep rising stars down to maintain their own status), we do not and cannot operate in a bubble. These organizations that are supporting women need to take a hard look at how to make change. The only way to make this work is to enlist male allies; not to cloister off in group of women who believe what you believe. Men and women must work together to create a productive solution that doesn’t make this problem a “women’s issue,” thus giving these predators and subtle sexists the power to make the situation an “us” vs. “them” issue.

 

The organizations for women are already funded and organized, but now it’s time for them to move beyond talk and into action. They should take a page from the LGBTQ community: PFLAG could serve as a great model – chapters exist all over the US to help people work together to understand the issues, foster acceptance, and create safer and more inclusive communities for people of the LGBTQ community. This volunteer chapter structure allows dialog, understanding, and true change and it is not dependent on how much money you have or whether or not you can pay $1,000 for a weekend conference in New York or Napa. With well-known, funded, publicized, and gender inclusive chapters change can happen in any community where women and decent, good men are willing to work to solve the problems in wine.

 

Women are hurt and outraged but they should heed the warning: it is never right to close ranks and push people to the margins who want to help and who are willing, during our darkest times, to stand up for us and with us to help fight the darker elements of sexism. This is not a “women’s issue.” This is a cultural change that must happen in the wine industry and it can’t be done with scholarships and conferences of women alone. It must be a joint effort from everyone who is willing to be educated and to advocate for fairness.

 

Until we address the problem and come up with an innovative, inclusive solution, the engine of sexism and discrimination will continue in wine, stifling creativity, destroying the self-esteem of outstanding people, and holding the entire wine industry back from progress it deserves. 

_______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Dec 01, 2020
Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition
36:01

2020 has been unlike any other, so we are recommending some different things for this year’s annual Thanksgiving show. This year has been tough for everyone, but small, family-owned wineries have been hit pretty hard by fires, lack of tourism, and in some cases, rough harvest conditions. Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, so for this year, especially, we’re recommending that we show support for great American, family-owned wineries and their wines that pair perfectly with any kind of Thanksgiving food you decide to eat.

 

We start out with a few important announcements:

  • The Wine Resources section of the WFNP site is now live. Check it out! 
  • This year I’m running the holiday book offer again! Details here:

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Regardless of where you are or who you are with, our #1 Thanksgiving tip this year (in this kind of sucky and restrictive year without our loved ones in many cases): Drink something really fantastic – haul out the wine that you’ve been saving and have it now. Celebrate that you are here, that you are ok, that you will make it through this tough time.

 

We then spend the show traveling the country from west to east, recommending wines from all the top quality regions:

New World Wine Regions - California

  • Oregon
    • Also affect by fires this year and chockful of family owned producers (but make sure you check the big, hulking winery list in the Wine Resources part of the site to avoid buying from a conglomerate), Oregon makes great Pinot Noir, unoaked Chardonnay, and Gamay – all great with every part of a traditional, savory Thanksgiving meal. Some favorites: Bergström, Torii Mor, Cristom, Lingua Franca

New World - Oregon Wine Regions

  • Washington
    • With more body, power, and alcohol, the wines of Washington are fantastic for grilled foods, beef stews, meatloaf, and hearty food you may decide to have in lieu of traditional TG food. Walla Walla, Yakima, and the larger Columbia Valley AVAs are great. I mention Pepper Bridge, Amavi, Sleight of Hand, Saviah, Hightower, and Delille

New World - Washington Wine Regions

  • Texas
    • Hands down, the winning wine in Texas right now is Tempranillo. A bolder, higher alcohol version than the original Spanish wine, these wines will be great with Spanish cheeses (Manchego) and the same foods we mention for Washington wines. Spicewood, Perdenales are mentioned. 

 

  • We mention Michigan for its Riesling, New Mexico for its large sparkling brand, Gruet, and Colorado for some of its emerging wineries as well

 

  • Finger Lakes, New York
    • Riesling, Riesling and more Riesling is my recommendation. Dry, off-dry, sweet, dessert – all work with herbs, spices, butter and fat. Riesling is an MVP – it can also handle curry, Chinese food, Indian spices, and any food with heat. And Finger Lakes, with the traditional peachy, white flower, mineral bouquet, its stupendous acidity and lower alcohol make it a complete must-have. Anthony Road Wine Company’s Late Harvest Vignoles is the dessert wine of the century – a native/hybrid grape made in a sweet style, also noted in the Splendid Table segment.

 

  • Long Island, New York
    • From my native land, M.C. Ice and I wax poetic on sparkling wine from Lieb and Sparkling Pointe, and then mention great medium bodied Cabernet Franc and Merlot from these gorgeous island wineries. With these kinds of profiles and more moderate alcohol (make sure to check that’s the case before you buy), you will have reds that can weave their way in and out of hard-to-pair dishes – from green beans to creamed spinach to fried turkey. And the sparkling may be an even better match for all that – but you be the judge.

 

  • Virginia
    • It has been a terrible year for the wineries of Virginia. Terrible frost settled at the beginning of the growing season, killing off the vines before they had a chance to form. The tiny harvests were fine but there won’t be much wine to sell from 2020, an unfortunate occurrence in the time of Covid. We mention the fabulous Albariño from Afton Mountain (I mentioned their sparkling, Bollicine, in the Splendid Table segment) and unoaked Chardonnay from Pollak, which are our seafood picks, as well as the versatile whites and reds of Linden and Glen Manor. We highly recommend dessert wine from VA – it’s a perfect end to the meal!

 

We are so grateful for you and we hope you open something fantabulous to celebrate that you are making it through this year, no matter how hard it has been!

 

Elizabeth and M.C. Ice

 

_______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Nov 23, 2020
Ep 351: Severine Schlumberger of Domaine Schlumberger and the very French side of Alsace
53:25

Séverine Schlumberger joins us for the third installment of our mini-tour of Alsace (first installment was Ep 343). To provide a counterpoint to Phillippe Blanck of Domaine Paul Blanck (Ep 250), the Schlumberger family is more devoutly French in attitude and Séverine tells us a different story of her family’s heritage, attitudes, and how Domaine Schlumberger developed and grew to become one of the largest family-owned domaines in Alsace.

Founded by Nicolas Schlumberger in 1810, Domaine Schlumberger produces all estate-bottled wines from southern Alsace. The Schlumberger vineyards are among the largest in Alsace, and one of the largest blocks of contiguous vineyards in all of France. The Schlumberger domains operate and vinify 140 ha/346 acres of vines, half of which are spread over 4 Grands Crus, which have been in the family since 1810 -- Kitterlé, Kessler, Saering and Spiegel. The vineyard is sustainably managed, 30 ha is biodynamically farmed, and the Domaine is working on organic certification for the whole property.

 

Séverine Schlumberger, co-owner of the Domaine, is part of the 7th generation running the estate. Here are the show notes:

 

First we tackle history, as it is so essential in Alsace…

  • Séverine tells us about her family history in Alsace. She discusses how her family came from Germany to Guebwiller and how their family grew in size and diversified from wine to textiles, finance and oil in a network that stretched from Alsace, to Paris, to the United States. Séverine paints a picture of a family who very much considered themselves French and defied German occupation each time it occurred in the 19th and 20th

  • I ask Séverine if she finds that her family was particularly egalitarian because the prestige cuvées are named after the women: Christine, Anne, and Clarisse. In her very matter-of-fact, brass tacks style, Séverine tells us that her family was actually quite sexist, and that the women either needed to die or become very old to even be considered important in the domaine! I love the honesty!

 

  • We speak briefly about Michel Schlumberger in Sonoma, which a distant relative of Séverine’s established and then sold. In case you were wondering, there is no close tie between the wineries and wasn’t even before the sale to a holding company.

 

Next we address the estate:

  • The Domaine is located on steep, dry, infertile hills with slopes of up to 50% gradient and at an altitude ranging from 820- 1280 ft/250 - 390 meters. It’s in the Haut-Rhin area of Alsace (the south), which is dry and considered top quality.

 

 

  • Séverine talks about how much of the Grand Cru grapes go into the basic tier, “Les Princes Abbés” wines. The wines aren’t mature for 15 years and the basic wines are essential for introducing wine drinkers to the world of Alsace, so they get special care.

  • We discuss the new classification system that is proposed (it would be like Burgundy’s system) and some of the qualms Séverine has with it. Then we discuss the standardization of a sweetness scale of the wines, tradition styles of Alsace, the use of very limited oak, and how climate change has affected the wines.

Finally, Séverine tells us her wish for the future: that Alsace wines become as popular on wine lists and in shops as Bordeaux or Rhône, and that wine lovers recognize that every white wine style made exists is in Alsace and is readily available.

I’m doing my part in drinking Alsace, I hope you are too!

 

My favorite quote from the show...

“For me the luxury of a wine producers is not to drive a Ferrari or to dress Chanel, it’s to be able to skip a wine if the vintage is not good enough, and that’s exactly what we’re doing…and the only reason we can do that is because we are family owned. If you belong to a big financial group, it’s over”
(32:15)

*All photos from https://www.domaines-schlumberger.com 

 

________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Don't forget the bookplate offer for the book: 

Nov 16, 2020
Ep 350: Alsace's Famed Domaine Paul Blanck with Phillippe Blanck
01:02:37

Building off Episode 343 on Alsace and the Alsace class I taught, Phillippe Blanck of the famed Domaine Paul Blanck joins to talk about his family’s 420-year history in wine, the uniqueness of Alsace and its sites, and how we need to reorient wine to tasting and sensation versus elitist words. You will learn volumes about Alsace, terroir, history, and taste from this wise, very tuned-in, wonderful man.

 

The Blanck wine story starts in 1610 when Phillippe’s Austrian relative, Hans Blanck acquired vines in Alsace. 420 years later, Domaine Blanck continues the legacy. Phillippe operates the Domaine with his cousin Frederic. Frederic is the king of the vineyard and cellar and Phillippe is the master communicator and business person. With just 24 ha/59 acres of land, Domaine Paul Blanck makes some of the most distinctive, terroir driven, yet affordable wines in Alsace. And Phillippe tells us all about it.

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Phillippe tells us the story of his family in Alsace. He discusses the character of the people and the wines, and how they evolved with French and German influence over the centuries. He discusses his grandfather, Paul Blanck who (with the help and advice of Burgundy producers) fought for recognition of Grand Cru sites and wines of terroir. They got assistance from Champagne producers to push through the Crémant appellation in the 1970s, and the family was also instrumental in getting distinctions for the late harvest wines – Vendange Tardive and Seleccion de Grains Noble (We also clarify that the Blanck family is large, made up of many, many distant cousins, so many Alsace wines and domaines may bear the name – Paul Blanck is the one we are discussing).

  • Phillippe talks about innovation in Alsace and how very important it is to encourage young producers to push the envelope here, even if it defies tradition in some ways.

 

  • We discuss the various Grand Cru of Blanck and how about 1/3 of the vines are moved into the basic AOC Alsace wine because the vines, although growing on ideal sites, are too young for the Grands Crus. This means their base tier wines are rich, and possess more terroir-driven character than many wines of the region.

 

  • Phillippe gives an excellent explanation about the differences between Grand Cru wines and general AOC wines. He talks about the broader picture of Alsace wine– that it is not just orthodoxy of soil, but the unending permutations of styles available that make the wine confounding and exciting. These top tier wines are special because the sensation and precision of each and how they reflect the land and also the skill of the winemaker and what they want to show. A good Grand Cru is “readable”, according to Phillippe, it needs to say something and the winemaker must have a good understanding of the terroir to be the translator. Domaine Blanck’s famed wines are those of Schlossberg and Furstentum with other wines in Sommerbourg and Mambourg.

  • I ask about the criticism of the Grand Cru system – many critics complain that there are too many Grand Cru sites without merit in Alsace that are undeserving of their status. Phillippe gives another way to look at this – he feels that there are certain sites that have no lead producer or flagship wine. Without those things the wines can’t achieve status even if the site is great. He uses the example of Andre Ostertag, who brought the Grand Cru Muenchberg to great renown in the last few decades through his innovative wines and labeling.

 

  • We talk shop a bit – Phillippe discusses the sweetness preferences of various countries (the US likes bone dry wines, the Netherlands like wines sweeter), the importance of having an excellent based tier wine to introduce people to your brand, and how wine scores and wine fashion is a bit meaningless. Phillippe gives us a tip: for industrial wine, the lower the price, the lower the quality. This is the opposite for terroir wine.

  • Phillippe discusses his other utterly fascinating passion – the Chinese art of Qigong (chi kung), that focuses on meditation, breathing, and calm for self-cultivation and positive energy flow. He has been a teacher of Qigong for 20 years and has applied the ideas to wine – he believes wine should be felt in your soul and described in sensation or “touch” terms, creating a universal language that people can relate to and using terms that evoke emotion rather than staid traditional aromatic terms.

 

This was a great show. I encourage you to check out the Alsace class that I taught. It’s on YouTube and free for all.

*All photos from the Domaine Blanck website. 

 

________________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Nov 10, 2020
Ep 349: Mas Martinet - A Founding Domaine of Priorat with Sara Perez, Owner
57:17

There are five founding estates of the Priorat region of Spain. Mas Martinet was the first and in this show, brilliant, philosophical owner Sara Peréz discusses its history, philosophy, and how she sees the land and wines of this magical, mystical region.

This woman is a role model for us all -- she has found true happiness in her part of the world, her work, and her life!

Here are the show notes:

  • Mas Martinet, originally owned and run by Josep Lluis Peréz, Sara's father, was one of 'los Closos', the group of five people and families that settled in Priorat and worked together from 1981 to change and revive the Priorat wine region and make it the legendary wine it has become (they are: Clos Mogador, Palacios, Clos Erasmus, Clos de l'Obac, Mas Martinet). Sara runs the winery and has brought Mas Martinet down new and exciting paths that have only made the wines more interesting, modern, and terroir driven. 


  • Sara tells us about her dad and mom,  who moved from teaching into setting up an enology school and then starting Mas Martinet after much study of the terroir by the pupils (as Sara calls them!) to help examine the best soils, slopes, and sun exposures for each grape type.


  • We learn about things used to be in Priorat -- abandoned vineyards, Carignan growing on the flats, Garnacha on the slopes, and lots of empty land with few people staying to farm it. We discuss schist and the famed black slate licorella soil (pic here from Mas Martinet):

  • Sara and I address tradition versus market appeal and why some French grapes were introduced into Priorat. We discuss the high alcohol levels (she discusses a 2001 trip to visit Didier Dageneau in the Loire and her shock at how high he was allowing his alcohol levels to become. This made her want to make a different kind of wine). 

 

  • Sara's commitment to organic viticulture and holistic farming rather than using anything that will harm the land is powerful. She uses herbs as cover crop to stop erosion on steep slopes, she doesn't spray -- even in the worst of years (she lost 86% of her crop this year), and she believes that small changes collectively can stop climate change. 

 

  • We discuss the top grapes of Priorat -- Carignan and Garnacha. Sara tells us how she creates Mas Martinet's three  flagship wines to pay homage to all styles of Priorat:

 

    • Clos Martinet is the original wine made my Mas
      Martinet. It includes Garnacha, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah and is aged in lightly toasted oak, as it always has been since her father created the wine. 

    • Els Escurçons pays homage to the sharp hillsides
      covered in licorella slate that were once abandoned when people left for cities. This wine is their most expensive, aromatic, and is 100% Grenache, and is elegant and light, as only Sara can make it in Priorat.


    • Cami Pesseroles is Sara's homage to the wines madeby the farmers who stayed in Priorat after the wealthy gentry moved to cities. They grew Carignan lower down on the slopes. This wine has a significant proportion of old vine Carignan, which is heavy and powerful but still has the light touch that Sara is known for. 


    • We mention the Mas Martinet Bru and Menut -- both which are affordable invitations into the wines of Mas Martinet
             

 

  • Sara tells us about her winemaking philosophies -- how oak can mask the essence of a wine, her willingness to experiment with amphora, glass, cement, and to make orange wine. 

 

 

Sara Peréz's overarching message is that Priorat is a place of mysticism, with elements in the land and the soil that you can't find anywhere else. It is a place that needs to be experienced and that can bring you great peace and calm, as can the wines when they are made in concert with the land. 

I can't wait to go visit! 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes (now for UK and Euro time zones!) please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Nov 03, 2020
Ep 348: The Mâconnais of Burgundy
52:12

The Mâconnais is the southernmost area of Burgundy, known for excellent Chardonnay. Although it's often overshadowed by the other parts of Burgundy and only given credit for AOC Pouilly-Fuissé, this picturesque and historic Chardonnay-dominated region has some of exciting appellations you should seek out to see what Mâcon is capable of (hint: a lot, at great prices to boot!)


Source: Vins de Bourgogne

 

Here are the show notes: 

Mâcon location:

  • The Mâconnais is located between the Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais in Burgundy. It is a transitional area between the north and south of France, where the climate starts to warm a bit, and plusher, fuller styles of wine are possible.
  • The vineyards are on a long strip between two valleys split by the Saône River in the east as it flows south to meet the Rhône and Grosne River in the west.
  • The Mâconnais has 3,345.82 ha/8,268 acres of vineyard over rolling hills that intersperse with pastures, orchards and other agriculture.
  • Chardonnay represents 80% of all vines planted in the region. Reds are made of Gamay and Pinot Noir. Mâcon covers wines of white, red, and rosé.

 

 

History

  • Vines have been here since Gallo-Roman times but viticulture took off with the Abbey of Cluny, a Benedictine monastery founded in AD 910. These monks were dedicated to viticulture and were responsible for spreading it all over Europe: The order of monks from Cluny at its height had 20,000 monks in 2,000 dependent monasteries from Portugal to Poland. In response to the success of Cluny, the Cistercian Abbey of Cîteau, equally influential in wine, began in 1098.The monastic influence lasted through 15th -16th centuries, but as that tradition waned, so did the demand for wines from the homeland at Cluny in the Mâconnais.
  • Historically reds were favored for wine (there is a lot of Gamay, since Mâcon was not part of the Duchy of Burgundy and hence it was never outlawed to grow it here as it was farther north), but whites began to increase in popularity after phylloxera in the 1870s. Still, even in 1952, over 60% of the wine was red

 

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

Mâcon Location/Land

  • The Mâcon is separated by a series of parallel faults, many vineyards like on north/north-westerly or south/south-easterly exposure. To the southwest of the town of Tournus,there are little valleys that are great for vines. To the south the hills open to an area that has two rocky outcrops, the most important being Vergisson and Solutré – the lower slopes of these rocky peaks is the best area in the Mâcon. Soils range from limestone to flinty clay with sandstone pebbles, and schist. This is a sunny area with warm summers and a risk of spring frosts.

 

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

 

The Appellations 

Mâcon Appellation

  • This broad appellation makes red, white, and rosé from anywhere in the Mâconnais. The main grapes are Chardonnay for white, and Gamay and Pinot Noir for the reds and rosés, although most of the Pinot Noir is used for general AOC Bourgogne rouge. Lots of other regional wines are sourced from here – Crémant, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains and Bourgogne Aligoté. Since many wines classify for the higher specificity Mâcon-Villages, the Mâcon appellation is used far less. They are easy drinkers -- the white is Chardonnay, red Gamay and Pinot Noir.

 


Macon-Villages

  • If a wine is harvested within a specific commune, producers can use the word Villages on the label. The best comes from a delimited region of dozens of villages in the southern section of the Mâcon – from the town of Chardonnay down to the border with Beaujolais.
  • The limited amount of red is mainly Gamay and is fruity, violet scented, and fill. The reds are simple and easy to drink. The rosés have similar flavors to the reds, but are acidic yet mouth filling. Mâcon Villages Blanc are reliable Chardonnays with good acidity and honeysuckle, apple, and some grassy/shrubby notes. Like everything in the Mâconnais, the flavors will vary based on village/terroir and the winemaker.
  • A higher and more reliable version of Mâcon-Villages is Mâcon plus the name of the village. These include:
    • Lugny, Mancey, Milly, Lamartine, Péronne, Pierreclos, Prissé, La Roche-Vineuse, Serrières, Saint-Gengoux-le-National, Verzé.
    • Best villages are usually Lugny or Prissé
  • A lot of wine sold to big merchants. Good producers: Joseph Drouhin, Louis Latour, Verget

 

 

Pouilly Fuissé

  • AOC Pouilly-Fuissé was created in 1936. It was well known as an excellent collection of sites and regulators chose land for the appellation that was covered in the best soil -- clay with limestone base. It was decided that there would be no Premier Crus and there are none to this day.
  • Pouilly-Fuissé is a large appellation: 1,871 acres of vineyard land, which yield about 400,000 cases per year. Located between the cliffs of Solutré and Vergisson lie the villages: Solutré-Pouilly, Fuissé, Vergisson and Chaintré. They vary in rainfall, climate, altitude but the best vines grow on lower slopes of the two cliffs, where sun exposure and diurnals are ideal. Slopes face east and southeast and some are northwest facing and rise to altitudes of 200m/650 ft to 300m/984 ft.
  • The wines range greatly in this appellation both because of varied terroir, and because of diverse winemaking techniques. The best is known to be a little smoky not from oak, but from terroir. The Chardonnays can range in flavor – those aged in stainless steel or concrete egg are like apple, citrus, and peach with good acidity. If oak aged and quite ripe, they may be more like honey, pineapple, nuts, and butter. In bad examples, the oak overcomes the fruit. Some are ull and rich in flavor and soft in texture, and can have alcohol levels exceeding 14% ABV.

Top Producers: Olivier Merlin, Jean Rijckaert, Chateau Fuissé, Verget


Source: Vins de Bourgogne

 Pouilly-Loché

  • One of the smallest of appellations Bourgogne in terms of land, this is an historic area with an east-facing hillside overlooking the Saône. There are some older soils north of the village of Loché with schist and sandstone, and in the south there is heavier, mineral rich soil. Although these Chardonnay-based wines are floral and peachy, and can be acidic and refreshing, the quality and flavor varies because the terroir varies so much.

 

Pouilly-Vinzelles

  • This appellations shares an East-facing slope with Chaintré (in Pouilly-Fuissé appellation) and is near the big rock of Solutré. Much like Pouilly-Loché, soils vary – so the wine will taste different depending on whether the vines are planted on upper or lower slopes. They are similar to those of Pouilly-Loché, but can take on fuller brioche and almond notes if from those heavier soil types and if oak aged. Older wines (5+years) can even gain mushroom and earth notes.

 

 

Saint-Véran AOC: A top appellation and a great value

  • Gaining its AOC in 1971, Saint-Véran forms a belt around Pouilly-Fuissé. It is 1,590 acres, slightly smaller than Pouilly-Fuissé, which splits Saint-Véran into two areas, both of which lie on the slopes of the rock of Solutré. The old fossilized limestone soils on the west side create lighter wines than those on the eastern slopes, which are made up of marly limestone, clay, and flint. Lower in altitude than others, with some flat areas, parts of Saint-Véran overlap Beaujolais, particularly St. Amour (a cru of Beaujolais), which usually uses the Saint-Véran appellation for its whites.
  • These wines are acidic with smoke, white flower, peach, pear, and pineapple aromas and flavors. Oak can make the wine a bit nutty nuttiness. These wines are a bit zippier than those of Pouilly-Fuissé

Top Producers:  La Soufrandiere, Domaine Cordier

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

 

Viré-Clessé - High quality appellation

  • A high-quality appellation formed from the top two of the Mâcon-Villages, Viré and Clessé, this appellation is a baby – it was created in 1999. With limestone hills and chalky clay soils, these vines grow on hills and include white wines of Chardonnay only. The wines range from smoky and balsamic to citrusy, herbal, minty, and acidic. There can be oak treatment on the wines, which can add notes of nuts and butter, but these are generally acidic, great value Chardonnay (good ones start under US$20).

Top Producers: Domaine de la Bongran, Domaine Andre Bonhomme, Domaine des Heritiers, Chanson

 

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

Here is a great video on the Mâconnais from Vins de Bourgogne

 

_________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
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Oct 27, 2020
Ep 347: The Grape Miniseries -- Viognier
43:02

Saved from the brink of extinction just 50 years ago, Viognier (pronounced vee-ohn-yay), is a white grape that's native to the Northern Rhône in France – mainly the areas of Condrieu and Ampuis. The grape produces effusive wines with a strong aromatic character -- peaches, apricots, flowers, herbs, and ginger are common -- and when made well it has a medium body with a touch of acidity and a pleasant bitterness. This week we continue the grape mini-series (maxi series now?) by exploring this comeback kid and the pleasure it can bring when in the right hands. 

 

History

Viognier's parentage is a bit ambiguous, but it is related to Mondeuse Blanche, which makes it either a half sibling or grandparent of Syrah (as MC Ice points out, we could definitely make a word problem out of this – it’s a brain twister to think about, but possible!). The grape is also tied to Freisa and may be related to Nebbiolo, both which are native to the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy.

 

 

 

Viognier was once grown pretty widely in the northern Rhône but the combination of the phylloxera outbreak in the mid- and late-19th century, followed by WWI, the Depression, and WWII drove a lot of growers to cities and left vineyards abandoned. By 1965, only about 30 acres (12 hectares) of Viognier vines remained in France, and the variety was nearly extinct.

 

In the mid-1980s, interest started to grow both in France and from winegrowers in Australia and California. Growing interest lead to more plantings and today the grape is grown in Condrieu, Chateau Grillet, and Côte Rôtie in the Northern Rhône, all over the southern Rhône for blends, the Languedoc in southern France, as well as in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, and Spain.

 (C)Wine For Normal People Book map

Climate and Vineyard

  • Viognier needs a long, warm growing season to fully ripen, but not so hot it develops excessive levels of sugar before its aromatic notes can develop. Viognier must get ripe to allow flavor to develop and that happens late, often after sugars develop.
  • Viognier is a small thick-skinned berry with good resistance to rot. It does well on acidic, granite soils. Older vines – more than 30 or 50 years old are best for the grape.
  • There are at least two clones of Viognier. The older, original one from Condrieu is highly aromatic and tight clustered. The other is healthier, higher yielding and looks and tastes different according to some. This clone, likely made at the University of Montpellier, is widespread in Australia.

 

Winemaking begins in the vineyard – picking decision is vital:

  • Pick too early and the grape has no flavor, and makes a flat wine. Pick too late the wine is flabby and oily. Must be ripe but not overripe, with lower yields.
  • Although it is likely best to make the wine in stainless or neutral oak with perhaps some skin contact for a few hours before fermenting, the barrel fermentations, malolactic fermentations, and aging on lees can squash the unique flavor and scent of Viognier.

 

Flavors and Styles

  • Viognier is like peach, apricot, clementine, honeysuckle, chamomile, jasmine, thyme, pine, spice, ginger, crème fraiche, and honey with a full body and can be oily, or sometimes a bit bitter. It is low in acidity. When aged in oak it tastes like vanilla bean and with malolactic fermentation it is creamy and custard-like. It is almost always high in alcohol, with 14.5% ABV being common. The best Viognier from France often doesn’t age, and even loses aromas after a few years in the bottle. Some of the styles from Australia and the US, which have been aged in oak, last a few more years.

  • The grape is often bottled as a single variety but can be blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc.
  • We didn’t mention this in the show, but the wine can be off-dry or even late harvest and sweet. Condrieu and Château-Grillet produce sweet wines in warmer years.

 

Regions...

France

Northern Rhône: Viognier is grown as single variety in Rhône appellations Condrieu and Château Grillet on right (west) bank of Rhône River. In Côte Rôtie, winemakers can include up to 20% of Viognier though most growers add no more than 5%.

Condrieu

  • Includes seven communes along 14 miles, and makes wines that are usually dry, delicious young, and very aromatic wit structure. The area includes steep hillside vineyards, that face south-southeast to maximize morning sun, not hot evening sun. The soils are granite with a deep sandy topsoil called arzelle. This soil makes the best wine. Yields must be low, and picking must be after the grape has full aromatics.
  • Top producers: Guigal, Rostaing, Delas, Pierre Gaillard, Vernay, Francois Villard

 

Chateau Grillet

  • This appellation is owned by one producer, it is a monopole. It is just 7.6 acres/3.08 ha on granite soil with mica – making the wines higher in acid. Vines are 80+ years old and although the area seems ideal, there have been problems with wine quality. Recently the owner of Château Latour of Bordeaux acquired the monopole; there’s hope for restoration of its former glory.

          

Côte Rôtie

  • We did a whole podcast on this area, but north of Condrieu is Côte Rôtie, a Syrah appellation that can include up to 20% Viognier in the wine (in reality it’s more like 5%). Viognier helps darken the color of the Syrah in co-pigmentation but it takes up valuable real estate so it’s not used as much as it could be.

Other French areas: The southern Rhône, where it is blended, the Languedoc and Ardeche, where it makes serviceable Vins de Pays varietal or blended wines.

 

Other Europe: Switzerland, Austria, Italy

 

New World

Australia

  • Yalumba was the pioneer producer in South Australia’s Eden Valley in 1979. The Virgilius is their top wine (aged in oak).
  • McLaren Vale, Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Heathcote, Geelong, Central Victoria, and more grow the grape, which is a challenge to growers because it stays flavorless for much of the growing season and then transforms into something delicious – patience is a virtue!
  • One of the best uses for Viognier in Australia is its blends with Shiraz:
    • Clonakilla (Canberra), Yering Station (Yarra), Torbreck (Barossa)

 

United States

California

  • Viognier came in 1980s to California when John Alban (Alban Vineyards in Edna Valley), Josh Jensen of Calera (Central Coast), and Joseph Phelps (Napa), brought it into the United States in small quantities. The plantings and interest grew as a group of producers dedicated to growing Rhône varieties, called the Rhône Rangers, grew in numbers and popularity. Today California has more than 3,000 acres of Viognier.
  • Yields are high compared to France, the wines can often be overblown if grown in too-hot weather but the greatest examples are full-bodied and rich.
  • Top Producers: Tablas Creek, Crux, Qupé, Alban, Calera, Kunde

 

Virginia

  • Viognier is a signature grape of Virginia because the thick skins of the grape work well in the humidity and the diurnals of the mountains mean Viognier can ripen but maintain acidity over a long growing season. The typical VA Viognier has great fruit, slight bitterness, medium body and good acidity.
  • Top producers: Barboursville, King Family, Horton

  • Other US: Oregon, Washington (we mention ABEJA), Texas
  • Around the World: New Zealand, South Africa, South America (Argentina has a lot, Chile some – all young plantings)

 

Food: The wine is great with dishes that have rosemary, thyme, saffron, and creamy sauces.

 

Expect to spend more than $50 a bottle for good Viognier (we had the 2017 version of the Guigal below. It was US$50).

 

___________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
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And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

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Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Oct 20, 2020
Ep 346: Port Wine
59:06

Port is an historical, complex, and sometimes confusing wine, but it is more than worth your time to learn about. M.C. Ice go over everything from the vineyards of the Douro, to the history of this wine (with geopolitical implications), to how it's made, and the array of styles. There's something for everyone in the world of Port and after this show, you should be able to figure out which is for you!

Here is the written primer to go along with the show...

The Basics: What is Port?

Port is a Portuguese fortified wine, meaning you add distilled grape spirit, or brandy, to the wine at some point during production. A wine is technically only Port if grapes are from the Douro Valley in northeast Portugal and winemaking takes place there or in the area surround the city of Porto on the Atlantic Coast. There are tons of styles and flavors of this wine – there’s something for everyone.

 

Douro Valley: The Vineyards

The Douro Valley wine region follows the path of the Douro River as it comes out of Spain into Portugal. The region goes west through rugged, remote, steep and terraced granite mountains of northern Portugal, past  the city of Porto into Atlantic Ocean. There are three official zones of the Douro Valley: the Baixo (lower) Corgo, the Cima (higher) Corgo and the Douro Superior

 

  • Baixo Corgo is the westernmost zone and is cool, rainy and the sub region with the most vineyards.Often these grapes are for cheap ruby and tawny Port
  • Cima Corgo  is upstream from the Baixo Corgo and is where the best vineyards for Port are located. Hotter and drier than Baixo, these excellent grapes are used for Vintage, Reserve, aged Tawny, and Late Bottled Vintage Ports
  • Douro Superior is the easternmost zone, going right up to the Spanish border. It has a lot of land but is least developed. It is the hottest, driest area, and a bit flatter

 

Land and Climate

The Douro has hot, dry summers and steep rocky hillsides bordering the Douro River and its tributaries. The thin, poor schist and granite soils force the grapes to dig deep into schist to look for water and force humans to build terraces to do viticulture: 2/3 of vineyard are on slopes with 30%+ grade.


The Grapes

  • Reds: Producers are permitted to use more than 80 red varieties but 5 are widely used: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Cão. The best wines are blended from low yielding vines with grapes that are small with thick skins and good acidity levels. The grapes here, with the exception of Tempranillo, are indigenous and suited to the hot, dry conditions of the Douro. There is nothing else that tastes like these blends
  • Whites (30 allowed): Gouveio, Malvasia Fino, Moscatel, Vinosinho, Rabigato, Esgana-Cão (Sercial of Madeira, dog strangler), others

 

 

History of Port: Most of the information on Port was on Taylor Fladgate’s excellent site.

  

Winemaking: The Steps

  1. Grow grapes in Douro. The IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto– Port and Douro Wines Institute)uses the beneficio system (similar to the Échelle des Crus in Champagne) to classify vineyards with a grade that will determine the quantity of Port Wine that can be made from each parcel.  
  2. Put the grapes in a vat (different varieties are usually co-fermented). Stomp them by foot or press them and then start fermentation. When you get to the sugar level you want in the finished wine, run the wine out of the lagar into a vat. To that runoff of juice, add aguardente to kill the yeast and stop fermentation, leaving some sweetness. The resulting wine is usually 19% to 20% alcohol


  3. Let the wine chill out in Douro until spring, evaluate it for what style of Port it will make and then take the wine to lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia near the city of Porto to be blended, aged, bottled and then sold.
  4. The real magic is in the ageing…

 

Ageing & Port Styles

Ports differ because of the quality of the vineyards/grapes, the makeup of the blend, and the ageing regimens they go through. Age softens the bitter, astringent tannins and with time older Ports become brownish in color, soft in tannin, and full of interesting aromas and flavors.

 

Port is classified by how long and WHAT it’s aged in: Wood or bottle

  • Wood Aged Port is matured in wooden barrels. They’re permeable to air so this is called oxidative aging. These wines lose color faster than bottle aged Ports.
  • Bottle Aged Port is aged in barrel for 2 or fewer years. It then goes into a bottle and the buyer ages it in their own cellar. Vintage Port, the finest of all Ports, is made this way.

 

Styles of Port

Fruity, dark colored Ports: Ruby, LBV

  1. Ruby Port is, not surprisingly, ruby red in color. Looking to maintain color and its full cherry and black fruit notes, this wine goes through very little oxidation before release. It can age up to 3 years in wood or another vessel that allows small amounts of air in. It is generally sweet, cheap, and is the most widely produced style (because from a cost perspective – it’s as turn-and-burn as it gets in Port – not inventory holding costs). Special Ruby Ports are:
  • Reserve: This is where the term reserve actually matters! These wines are better quality, age for slightly longer, and more rounded, full-bodied and complex
  • Rosé: Like any rosé, this type of Ruby Port is in contact with the skins for a shor period of time to obtain the pink color. This is a new type of Port and best chilled with ice

 

  1. Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port is always from a single vintage year, always bottled after spending 4 to 6 years in a wood vat of some sort, and is a dark purple-ish color, full-bodied, and is a little like drinking a young Vintage Port but without bottle ageing and from less good vineyards. This is the Port I usually drink – it’s predictable, tasty, and a great value for what it is. There are two subcategories here:
  • Bottle Matured Port: Is generally a higher quality LBV that ages in bottle for at least 3 years before release
  • These can come filtered and fined, unfiltered and unfined or in a few other variations. Unfiltered and unfined may throw more sediment.

Food Pairings with these fruity Ports: Brie with Ruby, cheddar with Reserve, tangy cheese with LBV (goat). Chocolate desserts for all that have sweetness.

 

Nutty, dried-fruit, woodsy flavored Port:

 

  1. Tawny Port in theory is made from red grapes, for a long amount of time that will cause gradual oxidation and evaporation, changing the color of the wine to a brownish TAWNY color, rather than purple or ruby. These wines are known for more secondary notes of nuts, dried fruit, smoke, and sometimes oak. With lots of age they can be like honey or even maple syrup. Often lots of different wines have aged for different lengths of time in casks or in vats are blended to reach the house style. They can be sweet or medium dry or dry. These wines are ready to drink when they are bottled.

TYPES of Tawny

  • Tawny (No age): Basic blend of wood-aged wine that has usually spent 3+ years in a seasoned cask so they don’t taste oak aged. The reality is that cheap versions of these contain unripe grapes that lack color, the addition of White Port to lighten color, or commonly, carmelized grape must that can add desired color and flavor.
  • Reserve: From a blend of wines aged 5-7 years. From better vineyards than regular Tawny, these have more nuttiness, vanilla notes, and complex fruit flavor.
  • Tawnies with an indication of age – These are blends of several vintages to get target color, flavor, and aroma. The best versions include very old wines but many large brands just aim for a “target age profile.” This is a flavor they aim to get (that yummy old wine flavor, I guess?) and the “target” is stated on the label -- 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. It’s not even an average of the ages of the wines used.
  • Colheita is a single-vintage Tawny, aged for at least 7 years and it has the vintage year on the bottle. Although it’s not a Vintage Port, if the idea of uncertainty around “20 year Tawny” bugs you, this is a more regulated wine. Also a more expensive one in many cases.

                                 

Food pairing with Tawnies: Cheese wins the day -- hard, aged cheeses like Pecorino or Parmesan and nut or cream-based desserts (Pecan pie, caramel or fruit based desserts,). Older Tawny pairs well with all that stuff, plus crème brulee, and honey- and nut-based desserts. Like most really old wines, really old Tawny should be consumed solo, chilled.

 

  1. Garrafeira is a rare vintage-dated Port that first goes through oxidative ageing for 3-6 years in wood and then is moved into huge glass demijohns for reductive aging for 8+ years.

 

  1. White Port is made solely from white grapes in very sweet, sweet, dry or extra dry styles (called Extra Seco, Seco, Doce and Lágrima). Reserve is aged slightly longer and is slightly better quality. These wines are great as cocktail mixers!

 

Bottle Aged Port:

  1. Vintage Port is one of the greatest wines in the world. Harvested during a single year and bottled two to three years after the vintage, it develops gradually for 10 to 50 years in the bottle. Each Port house decides whether to make a vintage declaration and the IVDP approves the declaration, which only happens 3 in 10 years. These wines are only a small percentage of the total production of Port. They are bottled relatively quickly and sold, for the buyer to hold and wait for the flavors to change in the bottle.
  • Great Vintages in the last 20 years: 2018, 2016, 2011, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997, 1994
  • Single-Quinta Vintage Ports come from a single quinta, or estate. It is a very dark, full bodied red wine that becomes softer after ageing in bottle. It is the most terroir-expressive Port.

          
                        

 

  1. Crusted Port is high quality Port that’s a blend of wines from different harvests. Crusted Port is bottled after 2-3 years of ageing in wood. The wine throws a thick sediment deposit (crust) in the bottle so you need skill in decanting to get the wine out without the chunks! Some consider it bottle-aged, some consider it wood-aged but I think since it spends most of its time developing in the bottle, we’ll leave it here.

Food Pairing with Vintage and Crusted Ports: Blue cheese – Stilton or Roquefort are the traditional pairings for Vintage Port, as are nuts and dried fruit. A fine, old Vintage Port should be enjoyed alone.

 

Serving Tips:

  • 59–68 °F /15˚ and 20 °C is the ideal serving range Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler
  • Vintage Ports and Unfiltered Ports need to be decanted
  • Tawny, ruby, and LBV Ports may keep for several months once opened
  • Old Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening

 

Famed shippers (AKA Producers)

  • British influence remains: Broadbent, Cockburn, Croft, Dow, Gould Campbell, Graham, Osborne, Offley, Sandeman, Taylor-Fladgate, and Warre
  • Dutch: Niepoort
  • Portuguese origins: Ferreira and Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Noval

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And register for current classes at:  www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

Oct 12, 2020
Ep 345: CVNE -- A Rioja Legend with CEO Victor Urrutia
58:19

In the show, I welcome Victor Urrutia, the CEO of the Compañia Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) one of the most famed bodegas in Rioja, which has been around since 1879. Victor is part of the 5th generation of a family that has run CVNE (said coo-NAY) for 141 years. We discuss the storied history of this classic, traditional, high quality bodega, and probe into a dozen other Rioja-related topics.

Victor and I cover many subjects, and I was thrilled to have him - it’s been really hard for me to find Spanish producers to come on the show and he comes from one of the most historic, classic, and outstanding bodegas in Rioja (I drink A LOT of CVNE!). Here’s a high level of what you’ll find in the show: 

 

  1. Victor tells us the story of his family in Rioja and in wine, and his circuitous route to becoming a leader that combines a progressive attitude with a strong respect for tradition.

 

  1. We dork out on the Rioja region. Victor tells us all about what is important and what is not in the world of Rioja wine. We discuss the three major regions (Alta, Alavesa, Baja/Oriental) and how they differ in geography, grape types, and traditions.

  1. We hit on climate, climate change, and the land that surrounds Rioja

 

  1. Victor compares Rioja to Champagne (at first I was skeptical, but I see his point now and you will too) and the movement towards single vineyard wines to the grower movement. We have a nerdy discussion about Italians in Barolo, the French in Champagne, and the Riojanos and how all these regions share much common ground (I promise, it comes together!).

  2. Victor tells us about the differences between the four brands under the CVNE umbrella in short:
    • CVNE is the flagship brand. Grapes come from both Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, and from warmer and cooler climates to make highly drinkable, tasty wine. CVNE is made every year, and is made in a traditional style. It is a classic Rioja which changes with vintage, but never wavers on quality.
    • Imperial is Reserva and Gran Reserva only. These wines are structured, excellent for aging, and only made in the best years from estate grown fruit in Rioja Alta. First made in the 1920s, these wines are the benchmark style of classic Rioja for many familiar with the region.
    • Viña Real was also launched in the 1920s, but it is more fruit forward, has a stronger new oak component and a higher percentage of Garnacha to make it more fruit forward and “modern” in style. Grapes come from Rioja Alavesa.

    • Contino is CVNE’s single vineyard brand, established in 1973. These wines are reflective of the site in Rioja Alavesa and are usually more fruit forward and powerful than either Imperial or Viña Real.
    • Monopole is the white wine we mention, that has a portion of Sherry blended in, representing the old school style. It’s outstanding.

 

We end with a few business questions about how Spain invested to become such a force in the modern wine world, the future of Rioja if Alavesa (which is located squarely in Basque country) was to separate from the larger region, and the plans for CVNE, which involve never being satisfied and always doing better (an excellent goal).

 

This is a lively, unique look at Rioja. Take a listen then try these wines – I have been a pretty loyal drinker for years and I can promise that if you like Rioja, these will wow you!

 

And register for current classes at:  www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes _____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Oct 05, 2020
Ep 344: Wines for Transitional Weather (Spring and Fall)
41:06

During transitions to cooler or warmer weather, what should you drink? I am a firm believer that we should drink wines appropriate for the seasons: crisp, acidic wines for warm weather & fuller, more alcoholic ones for cool temps. This show covers both!

 

And without further ado, here are the "slides" for which M.C. Ice spent the better half of the podcast making fun of me! These will serve as the show notes this week.

 

Transitional Whites and Rosés: 

 

 

 

Transitional Red Wines: 

 

During the show I mention the class I taught on Alsace. You can find it here:  The Wine For Normal People YouTube channel

And register for current classes at:  www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes _____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Sep 29, 2020
Ep 343: The Exquisite Wines of Alsace with Thierry Fritsch of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA)
01:03:02

In this show, we welcome Thierry Fritsch, the head oenologist and chief wine educator of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA), the regional wine regulatory and promotional body of the Alsace wine region. Born and raised in Alsace, Thierry is an agricultural engineer and oenologist, and has an MBA from the Business School of Lyon. Prior to joining the CIVA in 1997, he worked as Chef de Cave for Pierre Sparr and Josmeyer in Alsace.  

Thierry is a lively and fascinating guest. He shared so much about the region and the innovations in the works! Below are the show notes:

  • Thierry tells us about his background and about the history of Alsace. We discuss how his grandfather changed nationalities 5 times in his life (!). We talk about how the epic tennis match, as I call it, between Germany and France (with Alsace as the ball) shaped the region culturally and from a grape and wine standpoint.

 

  • We discuss one of the unique factors about Alsace – that winemaking families here have been involved longer than any other region in France – for 13, 14, or even 15 generations. Thierry tells us about the wine families’ strong passion for the region and how that has led to a focus on quality and sustainability and organic and biodynamics in the vineyard (Alsace is 25% organic, the leader in France)

  • Thierry tells us about the climate and land of Alsace – the effect of the Vosges Mountains, how the area is one of the driest and sunniest in France, how climate changed has pushed harvest up by a month and a half, and Alsace’s secret sauce is its 13 different soil types, each yielding different wine types. Thierry tells us of the three main terroir types in Alsace – the slopes of the Vosges, the foothills, and the flats – and how, as with all hillside regions in France, foothills/mid slope are best, followed by slopes and then the flats, which are used for everyday wines.

 

  • The current appellation system in Alsace (AOC Alsace, plus 51 Grand Cru) is quite simple now, but Thierry shares some exciting developments that are in the works and will happen in the next decade (with the INAO, the French regulatory body, it takes a very long time) – new tiers in the AOC that include villages and a premier cru level.

 

  • We end by talking about the beautiful wines. Thierry describes the main wines of Alsace and what makes them so special: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Pinot Noir, and the very popular Crémant d’Alsace.

  • One of the issues with Alsace in recent years has been producers making sweet wines without indicating it on the bottle. Beginning next year the sweetness scale will be on every bottle, to indicate Sec (dry), demi-sec (off-dry), moelleux (semi-sweet), and doux (sweet).

 

To learn more about Alsace, visit: https://www.vinsalsace.com/en/

 

During the show I mention the class I’m teaching on Alsace. You can register for that at www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes if you’re reading this before September 25, 2020 and catch it on my YouTube channel afterwards!

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Sep 22, 2020
Ep 342: Jane Anson on her book "Inside Bordeaux", a fresh look at this classic region
56:47

In this show award-winning writer, the foremost authority on Bordeaux, and one of the nicest, most talented people in wine, Jane Anson returns to the show (she was also in Ep 155 and Ep 165).

This year she launched her opus, Inside Bordeaux, a must-have book that she took 3 years to research and write. It provides a comprehensive look at the region’s true strengths – it’s terroir, farming, grapes, and land, rather than pretty buildings and rich people.

 

The book came out in May and was published by UK merchant Berry & Bros & Rudd and you can find it at specialty retailers all over the world (click this link to learn where).

 

Here are the topics we cover in the show:

  • Jane discusses the background of the book, how she did the research, and some of the great stories she uncovered in her time exploring Bordeaux and looking at it through a different lens.


  • We have a very honest conversation about how Bordeaux has strayed from its farming and agricultural roots – how this has been good, and less good -- and talk about some ideas on what needs to change to create a shift from glitz to substance and land.


  • Jane tells us about some of the best appellations that are less well-known, how to use the book to figure out wines that will overdeliver for the price based on where they are grown, and the regions she thinks are most emblematic of the quality of Bordeaux on both banks (you’ll have to listen for her suggestions!).


  • We discuss one of the most amazing features of the book – extensive fold-out soil and land maps created with scientist Cornelis van Leeuwen. We talk about how they were created, and the value of having terroir matched up with chateaux so you can make assessments about what style a place produces based on its soil.

  • Jane gets us up to date on the climate challenges in Bordeaux and the innovative ways people are working with the land to overcome what Mother Nature doles out.

 

If you love Bordeaux and want to learn more this book MUST be on your shelf!

 

Links to things Jane mentions in the show:

 

I hope to see you in my live online wine classes. Register here: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Sep 14, 2020
Ep 341: The Grape Miniseries -- Gamay
43:36

This week we return to our grape miniseries to cover an old Burgundian variety, one of the 20 kids of Gouais Blanc and Pinot, that emerged around the 1300s. We cover its fascinating history; we talk about how it survived defamation by Dukes, centuries later became one of the most popular wines in the world (Beaujolais Nouveau), fell from grace and now is securing its place as a serious, multifaceted grape that makes complex, interesting wines (especially in its ancestral home of Beaujolais, France).

 

Here are the show notes:

The Gamay grape and its ideal terroir

  • Often called Gamay à Jus Blanc (Gamay with white juice) to distinguish it from 2 teinturiers (grapes with red juice) that mutated from it.
  • The grape is early budding, ripening, and not vigorous if grown on the right soils and in moderate temps.
  • Gamay is predominantly grown in the Beaujolais region, just south of Burgundy. Its highest expression is when it grows on granite soils in the northern area of Beaujolais, in 10 superior communes. These are, listed in order of lightest to heavy: Chiroubles, St. Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent

Gamay Wines

  • Wines of Gamay are high in acidity, can be light or dark in color, can be rough in tannins or silky (all depends on terroir), have red berry, cherry, blackberry fruit notes, and stronger notes of flowers like violets, roses, and iris. I find they often have a note similar to a graham cracker, and they can show smoke or flint minerals aromas too.
  • The wines often are compared to Pinot Noir but they are brighter, a bit less complex and often show a delicate bitter note, which can be very satisfying with the right food.

Winemaking – the problem of carbonic maceration

  • Traditional or better quality Beaujolais, in particular, from the Cru or Beaujolais Villages are made in the traditional way wines are made (the quick and dirty: crush, macerate, ferment, oak age if desired, clean up, bottle) but Beaujolais Nouveau gets much of its flavor from a very quick vinification method that allows producers to take wine off the vines and have it be ready to sit on shelves within a few months’ time. This process is called carbonic maceration and it happens in lieu of crushing and macerating in the traditional way. The quick and dirty on it:
    • Whole bunches of grapes are put sealed vats that are blanketed with carbon dioxide (manual harvesting to ensure grapes aren’t broken during picking is important here)
    • Grapes at the bottom of the vat are crushed by weight of the grapes sitting on to top. The ones at the top aren’t crushed but the ones at the bottom release carbon dioxide
    • That carbon dioxide encourages fermentation within the juice that sits inside the skins of the grapes. But without oxygen and time, quick fermentation occurs and creates flavors like bubble gum and bananas.
    • And that’s what Beaujolais Nouveau usually tastes like!

 

 

Most Gamay is grown in France, where it is the 7th most planted red variety

Beaujolais:

  • 2/3 of plantings of Gamay are in and around Beaujolais, where it makes up 98% of production
  • 12 appellations have Gamay as the primary grape– the 10 crus plus -- Beaujolais AOC Beaujolais Villages AOC
  • Again, the Cru are: Chiroubles, St. Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent

 

Other parts of France:

  • Burgundy: Grown mainly in the Mâconnais, just north of Beaujolais. The grape is used for Crémant de Bourgogne and is sometimes blended with Pinot Noir in a wine called Bourgogne Passetoutgrain
  • Loire: Gamay can be light, peppery, and aromatic when it ripens well. Most of it is grown around the city of Tours in the Cheverny, Coteaux de Vendômois and other nearby AOCs. The wines are vintage dependent and can be thin in bad years.
  • Savoie and the Rhône each have some minor plantings

Other areas with Gamay include:

  • Switzerland, where Gamay is mixed with Pinot Noir to create Dôle in Valais (Bourgogne Passetoutgrains in Burgundy)
  • Valle d’Aosta of northern Italy (not too far from Switzerland!)
  • Eastern Europe
  • New Zealand: I mention Te Mata as one I’ve had and loved
  • Australia: Some smaller, cooler areas of Victoria
  • Canada: Niagara Peninsula, Niagara on the Lake
  • The US: Texas, Michigan, New York State (Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley) and…
    • California: I tell the story of the original Charles F. Shaw and his love of Gamay (and how his winery failed and he sold his name to Freddie Franzia to become what is now… Two Buck Chuck). I also add that Valdiguié, a French grape so bad it’s not grown in France anymore, was confused with Gamay
    • Oregon: At the same latitude of Beaujolais, there is lots of potential with the right soils. The grapes here are, in fact, Gamay à Jus Blanc, and they make lovely examples of the grape.

For more information on Beaujolais, the Beaujolais appellation web site is wonderful (this is not sponsored, I just love the site!)

_________________________________________

 

Don't forget to sign up for my live online wine classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Sep 08, 2020
Ep 185, The Remake: 7 Types of (Non-Winery) Wine Clubs
37:10

Of all the shows in the catalog, one has always stuck out as not really fitting in so this week we’re scrapping the old and we’re replacing it with something that is related but more timely, relevant and just plain better!!

 

This week we discuss the pros and cons of the seven main types of wine clubs. We list a few specifics, but try hard to concentrate on various types of clubs and what you can expect from each.

Here is the run-down...

Wine clubs claim to do a few things for their customers:

  • Give access to exclusive discounts, free delivery, extras
  • Save you time by avoiding the wine shop
  • Allowing you the chance at discovery, or the removal of decision-making
  • Give you options on the way you want the club to work --how often, timing, how much to get
  • Many also give loyalty/rewards

We spend the bulk of the podcast going through the categories of wine clubs:

  1. Profile services ask you questions and claim to hone in on the types of wines you like. After taking a few of these quizzes, I found them to be completely inaccurate. Further, a lot of the stuff is no-name brands, so clearly bulk wine that is of dubious quality.

 

  1. Budget/bulk wine of meh wine that is marked up. A lot of this is wine produced in huge quantities that is poor quality and comes up on the bulk market for people to buy, bottle and market. Occasionally the bulk wine can have sugar or other additives put in to adjust the wine’s profile to the target customer.

    Other wines are in shiners, finished wines, often made by a decent winemaker who had too much wine or who bottled a lot that they didn’t think was quite up to snuff. Producers sell these bottles and the wine clubs make a one-shot deal brand that you’ll never see again. It can be great, but don’t fall in love – you’ll never see it again (and if you do, it could be different wine in the bottle next time!).

    Naked Wines, which is very popular, is a sub category of this – they ask for a monthly donation to keep their wine projects alive, and with that, you can buy bottles with your credits as you see fit (it’s similar to kickstarter but with an actual product you can buy!). In reality, Naked Wines is also mostly a clearing house for second wines/wines that aren’t good enough for the brand that is selling them.
  1. Media Wine Clubs: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc. lend their names to a marketing firm who manages the club and uses the name to get customers. These are often good deals, some of the wine is probably good, but the these wines are from giant distribution clearing houses who are trying to get rid of wines by marking them down. You may get an occasional good one that just didn’t sell in retail, but most is lower quality, bulk wine, or from shiners. The benefit of these – there is a lot of variety and they are CHEAP. The Wall Street Journal is a bit more transparent about its club, the New York Times says it has “experts who travel the world” looking for wines, but never tells us who those experts are, exactly.

  1. Curated clubs are those selected by real people – people who you could theoretically ask about the wines and talk to about them. Some come from wine shops who taste thousands of wines a year and have a good sense of what are good deals or what is best from their stores (I mention K&L and The Grand Tour from Verve) but they are also things like Plonk Wine Club, which provides exclusive access and carefully selected natural, biodynamic, and organic wines, and my favorite (and my sponsor!) Wine Access, whose team puts together themed wine club shipments of 6 bottles 4 times per year. Wine Access has true experts selecting the wines, and they pick based on quality and value, rather than what’s cheap and available on the wine market.

 

  1. Test tubes/wine flights: I should have mentioned the sample bottles, but I focused on the test tubes of Vinebox. It’s a good idea – you try nine wines :4 red, 4 white, 1 rosé. They come in a box with glass-sized pours. The wines are exclusive to the club and every box gives you credits towards buying full bottles, which are theoretically available on their site. There were a lot of complaints from members that they couldn’t get the full bottles. It’s clear to me that the wines are also in bulk – “exclusive” wines that are hard to get and never seen in a bottle – all red flags.

  1. Flash wine sites: Although not as popular as they used to be, and not exactly a club, these sites (WTSO and Cinderella Wines from Wine Library) sell real brands at low prices but they put you under the gun to buy – once they run out, you can’t get the deal. Fixed quantity, fixed price. They work straight with the importers of the wines or the families that make them, and they buy in enormous quantities so they are able to get great deals and pass them on. Again, not wine clubs, but in the same genre.

 

  1. Niche Wine Clubs: Do you like Oregon Pinot Noir? What about Kosher wine? Do you have to have vegan wine? If so, there is probably a club for whatever you desire. I think these are great – it can be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for and these clubs cater to special interests. The only caveat: make sure they are giving you good producers, and not junky bulk wine! It can happen even in niche-y products, you know!

I talk about my experience working as a consultant for a now defunct wine club (that was discussed in the OLD episode 185, so it wasn’t relevant anymore!) and how it has informed my view of clubs, in general.

 

The bottom line: Make sure you are asking the right questions: Questions to ask:

  • Are the wines geared to your taste? After a few shipments are they good or not so much?
  • Are you an experimenter or do you want the same wine you always get? That will help determine what kind of club you should join.
  • If it’s a curated model, who is the expert selecting the wine and why do you trust them? Also, Have you heard of the wines? Has anyone rated them ANYWHERE?
  • Is there a niche that you love but you can’t find the wines? Go for it. As long as the quality is high, this is your best chance of scratching your itch for specialty wine!
  • If you’re price sensitive, clubs can be a great value – again, just make sure you get a good one! Make sure to ask: Is shipping included? Taxes? What are the extra fees?
  • What do customer say about the customer service: Will they take returns or credit you for a skunked bottle?

 

As a last note, once you sign up, make sure you stay vigilant – changes can happen and you may not notice!

Lots more detail than just this, but these are the major points!

 

Don't forget to sign up for my live classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Aug 31, 2020
Ep 340: UK Wine and its Past, Present, and Future
52:51

Although limited in availability, English wine is rising in popularity. Climate change, bedrock soil that's similar to Champagne and Chablis, and growers with know-how have changed England from a producer of mainly plonk wine into a viable wine nation, with sparkling wine leading the charge.

Source: Decanter

 

Access in the US is limited, so admittedly this is more of an academic exercise, but in the show we discuss the history, as well as the present, and bright future of UK wine. 

 

After discussing the history (details which can be found here), we get into details of climate, regions, and styles of wines. Here are the show notes: 

Climate and land

  • Most of the wine regions in the UK are at 50˚ latitude and higher, making it hard to ripen grapes. Long daylight hours in the growing season, and temperature diurnals, however, lead to slow ripening and the development of aromatics -- all very positive for UK wine. 
  • The weather in the UK wine regions, although warmer and drier than all other parts of the UK, and warmer than it used to be, is still erratic -- with winds, rain, and humidity creating issues during flowering and harvest. 
  • There is limestone chalky soils in Sussex, Kent, Essex, and throughout Southern England – a great foundation on which to grow grapes used to produce sparkling wine

 

The grape varieties planted:

  • Pinot Noir* 29.7%
  • Chardonnay 28.9%
  • Pinot Meunier 11%
  • Bacchus 6.9%
  • Seyval Blanc 4.2%

 

  • A brief caveat:“British wine” and “English wine” are not the same thing!!!
    • A wine can only be called ‘English’ if it is made from grapes grown in England, ‘British’ wine can be made from grapes grown elsewhere, as long as it is fermented and bottled in the UK. Don't call English wine, British wine! 

 

Significant UK Wine Regions:

Sussex 

  • In the southeastern corner of England, along the English Channel.
  • The warmest, driest wine region, Sussex is known for high-quality sparkling and still wines. 
  • South Downs is especially of note, with limestone chalk soils and lots of calcareous rock.
  • Bacchus – the cross of a grape made from Silvaner x Riesling with Müller-Thurgau is showing great promise of having floral, apple notes with good acidity 

 

Kent 

  • With ~50 vineyards, “the Garden of England” in southeast England, is known for growing cereal crops, orchard fruit, and other food.
  • Here, the White Cliffs of Dover form the coastline and this area shares the same bedrock as that of Champagne, Chablis and Sancerre.
  • Other unique areas in Kent Greensand Ridge and The Weald between ridges of North and South Downs.
  • The still wines from Bacchus, and exceptional sparkling from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay caught the eye of Champagne house Taittinger, who in 2015 became the first Champagne producer to invest in the UK 
  • Notable producers: Chapel Down, Biddenden, Gusbourne

 

Essex 

  • Research published in the Journal of Land Use Science  identified 83,000 acres of land in the UK that could be good for vineyards. Essex was cited as the top location.
  • Notable Producers: Dedham Vale, New Hall Vineyards (been around since the 1960s), West Street Vineyard

 

Surrey

  • Second Champagne house investment with Pommery and Hattingley Valley in a partnership.
  • One of England’s largest producers - Denbie’s Estate is here (Elizabeth says it's "meh")

Hampshire

  • The home of England’s first modern commercial vineyard. Seyval Blanc and sparkling wine shine here. 

 

East Anglia

  • Norfolk and Suffolk have more clay so denser wines of  Bacchus are showing promise. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also grown. 

 

South West England

  • Camel Valley – Cornwall’s largest vineyard is well esteemed

UK Wine's Future:

  • The wines are now exported to more than 40 countries including: USA, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Other Europe, Canada, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, and China
  • There is and will continue to be a push for sustainable farming. The Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification has 40% of the industry pledged to be more sustainable.

 

Top producers: Nyetimber, Chapel Downs, Ridgeview (Sussex),  Gusborne, Harrow & Hope, Wiston Estates, Camel Valley Vineyard & Winery, Cornwall

 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Aug 24, 2020
Ep 339: Puglia, Italy -- New World Wine From an Old World Country
46:05

In this show we tackle the heel of Italy’s boot (and the area that covers a part of the calf!): Puglia (pool-YA), or as some in the English speaking world call it, Apulia. (BTW -- the show we mention that is hysterical and has a character that says something often that sounds like pool-YA is called "W1A" and is one of our favorite shows!).

           

Puglia is spans 500 miles/800 km of the southeast coast of Italy. It juts out into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas but despite its proximity to marine air, the viticulture areas are surprisingly dry with little rain or humidity. Warm, sunny summer months have historically meant that Puglia is unencumbered by weather issues faced in more northerly areas.

 

This could have meant great quality wine, and in Greco-Roman times, that may have been true but in the modern era, not so much. The area became a major source for heavy red and white bulk wines that were shipped to producers in other parts of Italy and in France to beef up their vintages in years where Mother Nature provided less than ideal growing conditions.

 

Today, Puglia is in a transition from a bulk wine area to a quality wine area, and things are moving quickly. As New World wines rose to popularity and prominence in the 1990s and 2000s, Puglia’s producers realized they had more in common with parts of South Australia than with Veneto or Piedmont. They welcomed help from New World winemakers and since then the area has been modernizing and making better wines – the proof is in the new DOCGs and DOCs (restricted, delimited winegrowing regions) that have been created in the last 10 years.

 

The geography of Puglia ranges. Here’s the overview with the most important grapes:

  • The north is hillier, and more like Central Italy in its wine grapes and styles (Umbria, Tuscany) – Sangiovese and the Montepulciano grape are used more abundantly.
  • In central Puglia in on the east coast, near Barletta, Uva di Troia/Nero di Troia is emerging as the top indigenous grape, with Bombino Nero also showing promising signs.
  • In Taranto, near the Ionian Sea, Primitivo (Zinfandel) Sangiovese, and Montepulciano are popular.
  • In the south, on the Salento Peninsula, Negro Amaro and Malvasia Nera are dominant.

 

Every grape imaginable is grown in Puglia, but the main ones of interest that are unqiue to the area are:

  • Nero di Troia / Uva di Troia (the proper, registered name)
    • Traditionally used in blends to add acidity and refinement to wines with bolder flavor
    • When made well, wines of this grape taste like: red cherries, currants, violets, black pepper, tobacco, and are medium weight with high acid, and smooth tannin
    • We mentioned there are two different types:
      • A larger berried version that has been used for bulk wine but also, when grown well, can provide perfume and freshness
      • And a smaller berried version that is rarer but considered higher quality and is being used more often now
    • DOC appellations with Nero di Troia in the blend are: Rosso Barletta, Rosso Cerignola, Rosso Canosa, Cacc'e Mitte di Lucera, Orta Nova
    • DOCG appellations using the grape are: Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva
  • Primitivo (Zinfandel)
    • Originally from Croatia, the grape is grown across Puglia and despite a vine pull financed by the EU that resulted in many old vines being destroyed, there remains some very old, high quality vineyards of Primitivo in Puglia
    • The Primitivo name signals the early ripening of the grape, which is one of the first varieties to be harvested in Italy.
      • The grape can over-ripen quickly, rise to very high sugar levels, and is not a very productive vine. It’s wines can suffer from a lack of pigment, which can be mitigated by oak aging
    • When made well, and not permitted to over-ripen wines can have sour and black cherry aromas with spicy, pepper, licorice, and garrigue (rosemary, thyme, lavender). Fresher styles are more like raspberry and can have higher acidity.
    • DOCs are: Gioia del Colle, Primitivo di Manduria, Lizzano, Terra d'Otranto, Gravina
    • Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG is for sweet wines made of the grape

 

  • Negro Amaro
    • A black grape variety grown all over Puglia, this thrives in the southern part in the Salento. The grape can handle heat, and is thick skinned so it is a very productive and hearty vine.
    • The smallish, oval, blue-black berries are packed with polyphenols, making structured, full-bodied wines
    • When well made, the wines of Negro Amaro are medium to full bodied with black fruit, tobacco, and sometimes tar notes. There are other versions that are lighter on their feet (especially the rosato made of this grape), and these area often blended with Malvasia Nera to make the wine more multidimensional.
    • Rosatos are dark in color with good acidity and flavors and aromas like almonds, strawberries, and oranges
    • DOCs using Negro Amaro are: Copertino, Salice Salentino, Squinzano, Leverano, Lizzano

  • Bombino Nero:
    • This grape is hard to ripen and often high acidity and low sugar levels. It is lighter and becoming popular in Puglia as an alternative to the rich, thick wines of the other red grapes
    • Bombino Nero is a preferred grape for rosato, as it bleeds color without excessive tannin. The evidence: there is a DOCG- Castel del Monte Bombino Nero for Rosato only

Producers I like:  A Mano, Cantele, Due Palme, Felline, Masseria LiVeli, Masseria Monaci, Taurino, Tormaresca (part of the Antinori family). 

 

Taste some of these wines and let us know what you think! 

 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Aug 18, 2020
Ep 338: Glassware and Gadgets Revisited
50:06

We haven't done a show on this topic for a long time, so here's the 2020 update. We cover what to look for in glassware, decanters, wine fridges, wine openers, preservation systems and more. This is the skinny on what you need and what you don't (and why!).

 

Our picks are all on the Wine For Normal People store (where I make a tiny bit through affiliate money), but here's the list with some buying tips:

  • Glassware picks, well, I'll make you read this article from epicurious.com ( I wrote it so I believe in it!)

  • Decanters: they are good for removing sediment, aerating a full bottle, and heating up a too-cold wine. Make sure you get one that is easy to wash (forgot to mention that in the show)

  • Aerators: still a no-go for me. If you don't have the time to wait for a wine to unfold, drink something else.

  • Wine openers: the WFNP one, the electric one

 

  • Wine ice cubes: We like the thin plastic ones because we are the weight and color of stainless steel or rock can mess with the glass (break it) and the wine (discolor it)


  • Wine fridges: The fewer bells and whistles, the better. Make sure you think about how much wine you WILL consume in the future, as opposed to what you drink now. If your wine habit is growing, buy a slightly bigger fridge.

  • The Corksicle: This also serves as an aerator, but you would ignore that function if you take our advice. The main purpose of the device is to chill down the wine quickly. You put it in the freezer and the plastic icicle reaches down through the bottle to chill the wine. I'm not sold on it, but this is the only one that at least ONE of us thinks has promise. 

  • Yeti Wine tumbler: the only stemless that gets my ok, this keeps the wine at a perfect temperature every time. GREAT for the beach or any outdoor drinking!


  • Vacu-vin or other vacuum sealer: It will give you a day or three more with fresh wine, so it's a yes! 



  • Press-n-Seal for sparkling wine -- seriously.

  • Coravin: If you live alone or like drinking different things from your partner, or different things every night, this is worth the $200 - $400 plus the $50 refill cost a few times a year. The money you'll save in wine down the drain is well worth it! Make sure you always remove the foil and you don't use it on synthetic cork. Also, let the bottle stand upright for a few hours so it doesn't leak -- the cork will "heal" but it doesn't do so right away and that can leave a mess in your fridge.




  • Funnel and filter combo: Perfect for getting rid of floating cork, sediment, tartrate crystals -- the filter is a must. I know this may not happen to you, but occasionally you want to go to bed and you didn't finish all the wine in your glass. That's a good time to use the funnel!

Are there other gadgets that are fine? Absolutely, but this is our best of the best -- the ones that we find useful and necessary!

Let us know if you have additions.

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Aug 11, 2020
Ep 337: Feudi di San Gregorio and the Unrivaled Wines of Campania, Italy
01:05:56

Feudi di San Gregorio is the largest winery in Campania region of Southern Italy. The winery has fought to bring the region to prominence in the minds of wine drinkers looking for reds and whites unlike any others in the world (that you HAVE to try!).

 

Campania was the premier winemaking region in Italy in Ancient Roman times, but after the fall of Rome the producers chose to be grape growers/merchants, rather than winemakers. Although some made headway, it was after a large earthquake hit and destroyed much of Campania in 1980, that reinvestment in wine truly began.

 

To support local industry, along with another family, the Capaldo family began Feudi di San Gregorio in 1986 in the town of Sorbo Serpico in the province of Avellino. One son of the family, Antonio Capaldo grew up around wine but then he pursued business, leaving Campania to obtain a Masters in Management and Economics at the London School of Economics and a PhD in Economics and Finance from a joint program between LSE and University of Rome. By age 32, he was working at McKinsey (a top consulting firm) and made partner. On that very day, he quit consulting and got to work for his family’s winery in Campania, putting his skills and vision to work.

To my great delight, Dr. Antonio Capaldo, with his brilliance and razor-sharp humor, joins me to discuss the beautiful wines of Campania, one of my all-time favorite regions in Italy. He is the Chairman of Feudi di San Gregorio and shares his insights on the region, its appellations, what makes the land and grapes special, and the bright future Campania has ahead of it.

 

Some of the areas we mention:

  • Fiano di Avellino (I love this wine!)
  • Greco di Tufo
  • Lacryma Christi (white is Coda di Volpe, red is Piedirosso, Aglianico, Scianscinoso)
  • Irpinia
  • Aglianico – Taurasi, Irpinia, Aglianico del Vulture (in Basilicata)

Check out the beautiful wines (with their beautiful, mosaic labels) of Feudi di San Gregorio. They are everything we describe and more!

 

 

 

 

 

   ________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Aug 04, 2020
Ep 336: Santorini, Greece and it's divine white of Assyrtiko
38:40

Santorini is one of Greek wine's guiding lights. The wines from this ancient volcanic island are unlike any other – exhibiting fullness, smoky minerality, and acidity that you won’t find elsewhere. The whites of Assyrtiko are among the best Greece has to offer. The fascinating history and legacy of viticulture will transport you to this lovely Mediterranean paradise. In this show, we take you on the ultimate armchair travel destination: the island of Santorini, a Greek paradise!

Here are the show notes:

  • Santorini is at 36.4 N latitude, in the Cyclades group of islands.  
  • The region has 2200-2900 acres/900-1,200 hectares of land are under vine
  • Santorini was formed by an enormous volcanic eruption around 2,600 years ago
  • Wine has been made since the ancient Greek and Roman times but a Venetian crusader took over in 1336 and made the sweet wines of the Assyrtiko grape, Vinsanto, popular around the Mediterranean

  • On the poor, volcanic soil on this hot windy island, the grapes are trained via an ancient pruning system, called “kouloura." The trunk is trained into a basket-like or wreath-like shape so the grapes hang on the of the basket, protected from wind and harsh sun
  • Some of these basket trained vines may be over 400 years old; with Assyrtiko making up 70-80% of the plantings. 

 

  • In this dry, harsh climate with less than 10 inches of rain per year, grapes struggle. They're well adapted to the heat and wind, and the diurnal temperature swing at night helps them maintain their characteristic acidity.
  • Reds: Mandilaria and Mavrotragano  represent 20% of Santorini's vineyards. 
    • Mavrotragano:used to only be for sweet wines. But it does seem to have good potential for dry wines'
    • Mandilaria (which M.C. Ice believes is picked by Baby Yoda) is grow around Greece and is tart and tannic, and often better in blends

 

  • White: Assyrtiko with Athiri and Aidani
    • Assyrtiko is a tough skinned variety. Drought, wind, and heat resistant. Regardless of heat, it maintains its acidity as it ripens. high acid grape. It makes a dry Wie with citrus, mineral, smoke, pumice, lemon rind, jasmine aromas and a saline, stony, quality when you taste it. The wines are full bodied. 
    • Athiri is sweet, fruity and aromatic with lower acidity so it's a good blending partner with Assyrtiko. Aidani is similar.

 

Types of wine

  • Santorini PDO: is 75% or more Assyrtiko, 25% Athiri and/or Aidani. 
  • Nykteri: the Greek term for 'working all night', the grapes are  harvested at night to avoid the hot temperatures. The wine is at least 75% Assyrtiko with Athiri and Aidani. It is aged in oak for a minimum of 3 months, and creates a dry, high acid wine with  mineral, citrus, and peach flavors and aromas.

  • Sweet Vinsanto: This dessert wine has great acidity to
  • offset the dried orange peel, fig, and apricot aroma always with a salty mineral note, typical of Assyrtiko (the wine must be at least 51% of this grape with Aidani and Athiri).
    • Vinsanto as a name, comes from the Venetian era of dominance - wines from the island were labeled, “Santo,” for Santorini -- “vin” or “vino”,  the Italian word for wine -- Vinsanto. The EU recognizes this as a separate, distinct, historical product only from Santorini and different from Italy's "Vin Santo"

 

Producers we mention: Hatzidakis, Estate Argyros, Gaia, J Boutari & Son, Vassaltis, Venetsanos, Domaine Sigalas, Gavalas, Santos

 

 

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Jul 29, 2020
Ep 335: The Grape Miniseries-- Gewurztraminer
44:36

That's right, no umlaut for my show notes on this grape. I consider Alsace the true home of this grape and the place we should be looking for the most spectacular versions. For that reason, I stick with the French way of spelling it 😉

Gewurztraminer (guh-VERTZ-tra-MEEN-ah)is one of the most distinctive grapes and makes one of the most overtly perfumed, full-bodied whites in existence. The lychee, rose, citrus, incense, and smokey notes can be intoxicatingly fantastic or WAY too much.

Here are some quick show notes on the grape's past and regions where it's grown. 

Gewurzt grappes@2x

 

Aromas and Flavors

  • "Gewürz" means “spice” or "herb" but the grape was named so because of it's high levels of perfume and aromatics (it can smell like warm spices and pepper, but that's not the origin of the name)
  • The Gewürztraminer grape is actually pink to red in skin color and it generally makes deep gold wines, sometimes with a copper tinge

 

  • The grape has high natural sugar, so sometimes sweetness remains in the wine and many times the ABV reaches 14%
  • The most distinctive aromas and flavors of Gewürztraminer are: lychee, peach, melon, oranges, tropical fruit, roses, ginger, incense, smoke, pepper and sweeter spices

 

  • The effect of the aromas and flavors are so strong, they are sometimes too much for people, especially because bad versions of the wine have low acidity and can be flabby. Good versions strike a BALANCE between richness and acid, and avoid the bitterness possible from the phenolics of the darker skins. 

 

DNA/Parentage

  • The grape is a derivative of the ancient Traminer grape from the village of Tramin in South Tyrol, which is in Alto-Adige in the northeast of Italy
    • Pinot is its parent
    • Gewurztraminer is an aromatic (musqué) version of Savagnin

 

In the vineyard

  • Gewürztraminer is extremely picky. It's hard to grow, needing cool sites and limestone, marl, or granite soils to shine.
  • If picked too early, the resulting wine will have acidity but be missing the beautiful aromatics we expect from Gewürztraminer. If picked the overripe, the aromas are too strong, the acidity too low, and a bitterness creeps in, that makes the wine completely unpalatable

Regions:

  • Alsace in France makes the best Gewurztraminer.  There are only 7,000 acres or so but this is the best there is. The styles range from very dry to very sweet (Vendange Tardive, Selection de Grains Nobles).
    • Top Alsace Producers of Gewürztraminer: Léon Beyer, Zind Humbrecht, Muré, Schlumberger, Cattin, Domaine Weinbach

 

  • Germany makes Gewürztraminer (with the umlaut!) but it is very different from the wines of Alsace. There are about 2,000 acres here and much of it is in a relatively dry style, that seems to unfortunately crush the flamboyant nature of the grape. In a cool country like Germany, the grape needs warm sites to avoid spring frost and assure fruit set, so 2/3 of German "Traminer" is in Baden and Pfalz.

 

  • Italy is the native home of the grape -- it began on the cool slopes of the Alps in Trentino Alto-Adige and the grape is named after the town of Tramin. Styles run the gamut so it's important to buy from good producers. Elena Walch and Hofstatter are two solid ones. 

  • Other places the grape grows in Europe include: Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Austria (in Styria, specifically), Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and all over Eastern Europe, although likely it is not the clone of Gewürztraminer we see in Alsace, but some less aromatic version. 

 

New World:

  • Australia has plantings in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales

 

  • New Zealand has had success on the North Island, near Gisbourne and Hawkes Bay

 

  • Chile has some promising spots in the south

 

  • Canada grows Gewürztraminer in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, and in Ontario, Prince Edward County, the Niagara Peninsula, among other spots

 

  • In the US: Washington, Oregon, the Finger Lakes of New York, and my favorite spot: Navarro Vineyards in Anderson Valley

To wrap, we discuss good food pairings: spices like ginger, tamarind, coriander, and salty things like soy sauce or tahini are great with Gewurztraminer. 

 

We decide that Gewürztraminer is like our dog, Ellie. Very cute, awesome when awesome, but kind of a diva about everything! 

 

Go and try some great versions of this wine! I promised MC Ice we would get a Grand Cru of Alsace to try so I could prove that there IS a version out there he would like. I will keep you posted! 

 

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Jul 22, 2020
Ep 334: Hungarian Wine Overview with Zoltan Heimann of Heimann Winery
01:03:23

Zoltán Heimann of Heimann & Fiai Winery helps present the wines of Hungary.

 

He keeps me on task with the proper pronunciations (very hard and the reason it’s taken me so long to cover this country, honestly!), and gives us an overview of what we can expect from Hungary and its wines, before focusing in more on his beloved region of Szekszárd (sex-ARD), known mostly for its famous Kadarka red wine. The Heimanns have a long history of farming in Hungary, and Zoltán has a global view from his education at Geisenheim in the Rheingau Region of Germany (one of the best wine schools in the world). He has a lot to teach us about Hungarian wine – its history, its geography, its grapes, its wines, and its future, which he is helping drive.

 

A few things for clarification:

  • When Zoltán refers to small winemakers, he refers to them as a Hobby Industry. Because of the recording, it’s a bit hard to understand. Just remember that as you listen!

  • Please don’t make fun of me for having no clue how to pronounce anything right. I told Zoltán before I started that it was going to be rough and he was patient as anything!

 

These show notes are more about pronunciation and help with the regional names than anything else. If you listen to the show, you’ll need to refer to these (maybe often!).

 

After a conversation about history, Zoltán talks about how Hungary is in the Carpathian Mountain basin with the Danube River dividing the country and the Tisza River near Tokaj in the east.

  • The hills (some quite high, others undulating) make a crescent from the northeast around the north to the southwest
  • A large plain, the Hungarian Plain, is in the middle of the country and is where bulk wine, paprika, and lots of food production takes place
  • A smaller plain, near Austria is in the northwest of the country
  • The climate is continental, with cold winters, hot summers

Image: Topographical map of Hungary

We talk about the main grapes of Hungary:

  • Whites:
    • Furmint (FOOR-mint): The main grape in Tokaj, now winemakers are using it for dry wine. It can be like limes and oranges, smoky, even spicy, and quite acidic – the challenge is to tame the acidity through good vineyard practices and proper winemaking that doesn’t cover the essence of the grape (i.e., no oak)

    • Hárslevelű (HARSH-levalew): The name means “linden leaf”, a plant that smells like honey, smoke, and pears. Zoltán explains that Hárslevelű is like a smoother, softer version of Furmint 

    • Juhfark (YOU-fark): A novelty that is made mainly in Somlo (Showm-LO), in the northwestern (ish – kind of central northwestern) area of the country, we’ll see more in export markets than they will in Hungary. The volcanic soil here makes the wines smoky, ash-like, and minerally…with just a little moodiness that only a volcanic soil can express

    • Olaszrizling (said how it’s spelled): Also known as Welshriesling, the grape has traditionally been a neutral, workhorse grape for bulk whites. Zoltán says there are more and more producers getting great flavors from this grape, so it’s one to watch.
    • Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and other international varieties are also cultivated
  • Reds:
    • Kékfrankos (cake-FRAHN-kosh): Blaufränkish in Austria, this is the main component in Bull’s Blood of Eger and the grape that Heimann is concentrating on as a uniquely Hungarian expression of the grape – spicy, intense and interesting

    • Kadarka (said how it’s spelled): Zoltán explains that this is a very difficult grape to grow. Two in 10 years the harvest will go badly. The grape has big bunches and is prone to rot. It takes so much to grow that most vintners have no use for it. Heimann is one of the premier producers of Kadarka and aim to make an international reputation for this Pinot Noir-like grape

We move to the major wine regions

  • In the northeast/Upper Hungary: Tokaj, Eger
    • Tokaji: The dry and sweet (Tokaji aszú, Tokaji eszencia) of Furmint, Hárslevelű


    • Eger: Basalt/volcanic soil with loess can create excellent wines. The red blends are called Egri Bikavér or Bull’s Blood, the newer white blends (dreamed up in recent years as a marketing idea in the region) made of muscat and native grapes called Egri Csillag (EGG-ree chee-laug), known as “the Star of Eger”

  • Near Lake Balaton: Somló, Badacsony

 Image: Balaton, the largest lake in Europe

    • Somló (showm-LOW): Made of the smoky white Juhfark and other native whites

    • Badacsony: Known for fuller bodied, minerally whites with good acidity. A combination of Olaszrizling and native grapes. Volcanic soils make these wines unique

  • Sopron
    • Sopron (SHOW-pron): Located adjacent to Neusiedl (noy-ASEED-el) in Austria and the Burgenland region, these wines are mainly Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) and are similar to those of Austria

  • Pannon: Villány, Szekszárd
    • Villány (ville-AHN-ee): With excellent marketing, a strategic and unified vision, and excellent Cab Franc, this region has succeeded in getting its wines to market

    • Szekszárd (sex-ARD): Kardarka, Kékfrankos, and other reds thrive here. Heimann is on the cutting edge of reviving this region

To wrap up, Zoltán and I discuss the potential for Hungary, the new generation, and all we have to look forward to from Hungary.

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Jul 14, 2020
Ep 333: Richard Betts, Former Master Somm, Shows What Moral Fortitude REALLY Looks Like
01:07:36

After studying geology and gaining a BS, an MS and nearly a JD, Richard Betts discovered a love of wine. He served as the wine director at The Little Nell in Aspen from 2000 to 2008, and while there, in all his spare time, in 2003, Richard was the 9th person to ever pass the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Masters Exam on the first attempt.

Richard co-founded the wine labels Betts & Scholl in 2003 and Scarpetta in 2006 and founded Sombra Mezcal in 2006. Today, Richard runs Komos Tequila and Superbird Paloma (in a beautiful can), My Essential Wines, and the wine from Barossa in South Australia,  “An Approach To Relaxation.”

 

Richard is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert” and “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All.”  And after nearly two decades as a Master Sommelier, and feeling disillusioned by the lack of evolution in the organization, Richard has altered the wine world forever, by being the first person to resign as a Master Sommelier. He is here to tell us about his journey and his decision.

Here are the show notes:

  • Richard covers his background and his path towards becoming a Master Sommelier. He takes on a journey of what it was like for him in the early 2000s and how the Court of Master Sommeliers of that time fostered his love of learning and wine
  • We talk about Richard’s growing concerns about the Court of Master Sommeliers over time and then we delve into the two major issues that made him quit the organization:
    • The Cheating Scandal of 2018, in which a Master Sommelier gave away answers to the blind tasting portion of the exam to several people in California, and then the Board revoked all certifications of the credential around the world with no explanation or apology.
    • The apathy of the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers to the Black Lives Matter Movement, and their veto of a statement of inclusivity to remain “neutral.”
  • Richard tells us how he quit the organization and the painful and extensive steps he took to try to fix things before he made this drastic step.

 

To editorialize: Richard is a hero in the wine world. He has left an indelible mark that screams “I value integrity over status and exclusivity.” His moral compass, intelligence, and down-to-earth style and, ultimately, its lack of fit with the Court should have us all questioning why we give so much deference to those with the credential, when it is a reductive look at one’s ability to take an exam well, not to be the best wine professional s/he can be.

 

 

Bravo to Richard. He is a hero and a model for us all.

Here is a link to his resignation letter.

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jul 07, 2020
Ep 332: Tahiirah Habibbi from the Hue Society Is On a Mission to Diversify Wine
51:18

Tahiirah Habibi grew up in north Philadelphia, graduated from Penn State University and began working in hospitality, while taking wine classes at night to begin her journey of becoming a sommelier and pioneer. 

In 2012 Tahiirah opened the St.Regis, Bal Harbour. She later moved on to leadership positions at Michael’s Genuine and Baoli. Frustrated with the lack of diversity in the industry she believed her skills could bridge the intersection of wine and culture.  

 

In 2017, she launched The Hue Society as a safe space for the community to learn, commune and find resources in one place. Tahiirah has been featured in Ocean Drive as one of the top 5 female sommeliers, VinePair, Upscale Magazine, David Banner Podcast, and Imbibe Magazine to name a few.

With a decade as a sommelier in some of the top end restaurants in Miami, Tahiirah is an accomplished wine professional yet she has struggled every step of the way to gain recognition, and to cope with the overt and covert racism that exists in the industry. She discusses her difficult experiences, including the incident that prompted her viral video describing how the Court of Master Sommeliers requires all candidates to call them “Master” and what that means to her and other black and brown people who take the exam.  Watch Tahiirah's video from Instagram about her experience with the Court of Master Sommeliers here.

 

After we discuss the issues, Tahiirah uses her never-ending positivity and her penchant for action and problem solving to explain why she founded the Hue Society, which aims to provide a safe space for black wine lovers to come together, learn about wine, and enjoy the process without feeling the need to assimilate. She discusses the Roots Fund, founded this year with Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, to help fund people of color on their journeys into wine professions and how we can support her mission and vision by being more proactive about forming more multi-racial communities of wine lovers.

Discussing these issues and hearing this perspective is an essential step in changing wine so it reflects more of what the world looks like, not just what wine has traditionally represented. If you listen with an open mind, there are many important ideas Tahiirah shares in this show.  

 

To learn more about The Hue Society and the Roots Fund, please click here.

Tahiirah's article in Wine Folly is here

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jun 30, 2020
Ep 331: Carnuntum -- Austria's Newest, Oldest Quality Red Wine Region with Christina Netzl
56:37

Carnuntum is a small wine region in Austria with only 2% of the wine growing area, but it packs a punch in quality. A short drive from Vienna, Carnuntum is an old Roman hub, with a rich history and its wine is only just making an impact on the international wine scene. Christina Netzl, from Weingut Netzl joins – a producer who is largely responsible for putting this region on the map and making its red wines, especially of Zweigelt, so well-known and respected.

Christina - Jenny and Francois Selections

Here are the show notes:

  • We discuss the location of Carnuntum, its storied Roman history, and its unique position in Austria as an extremely high-quality wine region.
  • Christina gives us an idea of what the terroir is like in Carnuntum, the challenges with a windy climate, and the positive effects of the Danube, Lake Neusiedl, and the Pannonian Plain (which was once an old seabed!) on the climate and weather in the region.

  • We learn about the differences between the reds of Burgenland to the south, and the small Carnuntum region: the reds in Carnuntum are acidic, fresh, with bright fruit and ample spice. The wines are never overshadowed by the use of oak, which is used to support flavors, not to get “in front of the fruit” (I loved this phrase!).

 

Christina tells us about the very long, drawn out process of getting a Districtus Austriae Controllus (DAC) designation for Carnuntum.

  • We learn how very collaborative Carnuntum is – all winemakers had to agree to the standards of the DAC before it was finalized (very unusual!)

 

  • We discuss Carnuntum’s own classification system. Here are the German names:

    • Gebietswein (regional wine)
    • Ortswein (village wine)
    • Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine)

  • When wines can’t be classified as Carnuntum, they’re designated “Niederösterreich” which is sort of like Vins de Pays d’Oc (like from all of the Languedoc, for example) in France. The wines can come from a very large area all over the northeastern part of Austria. For smaller producers, it’s usually from their individual area, but the wine doesn’t qualify for the stricter DAC regulation.
  • Christina explains "Rubin Carnuntum”, a Zweigelt made in a certain style by a small group of producers (each has one under her own label – e.g., Netzl Rubin Carnuntum)
  • We discuss the name Zweigelt, and the link to its creator, an enthusiastic member of the Nazi party.

Christina tells us about the importance of Netzl working the land organically, how she is thrilled when she travels that people even know Austria makes wine, and the challenges she has had both as a woman, a young person, and a daughter taking over a family business.

A really fascinating look at an up and coming, (yet old and well-established) region!

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jun 22, 2020
Ep 330: Journalistic Integrity in Wine with Don Kavanagh of Wine-Searcher
01:06:47

The question comes up again and again in wine: who can we read that is trustworthy and who reports on the truth? We know it isn't the glossy magazines and many industry wonks are all in the pocket of high end producers and beholden to them so they can stay in the "club" and continue to drink expensive wine in their elite circles. 

 

There is one guy, however, that you can trust. And that is Don Kavanagh the editor of Wine-Searcher's journalistic arm. He has spent the past 25 years either working in the wine trade or writing about it, in his native Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand. He is far from an insider and his dedication to telling things as they are -- as a true observer of situations rather than a judge, jury, or partisan -- is clear in all that he writes and publishes. 

Don is a truly normal person. Unlike people who were graced with expensive bottles at his parents' dinner table, he worked his way through the wine trade, working in the UK and learning about wine (while also laying bricks, doing construction and being a bouncer), setting up his own shop in New Zealand, and then attending journalism school before launching a successful career at newspapers, wine trade publications, and now Wine-Searcher. I really relate to his story, having grown up in a home without luxuries myself and having to work many jobs to pay the bills.

 

Don's commitment to honest representation of facts led him to doggedly pursue the 2018 scandal in the Court of Master Sommeliers in which a board member gave away the answers to portions of the exam. This led to all candidates being de-certified and was a big enough story to hit the international news.

Wine-Searcher Data Feed - Zoey Commerce

While the Court turned to its friends in the wine trade to quickly sweep the scandal and all of the implications it had under the rug, Don kept asking hard questions. He was the single voice in the wine trade that wouldn't let it go. To date, the Court of Master Sommeliers has still never answered his questions nor have they discussed the changes they would make to the exam that would fix some of the problems Don's stories highlighted. 

 

We discuss the issues with the wine industry at large, the certification culture that has emerged, the elitism, and how advertiser dollars drive what gets published and what stays quiet (we mention this disturbing yet honest article by Richard Hemming, Master of Wine  “Why Wine Writers Don't Hold The Trade To Account”?). 

 

We discuss how the industry can be fixed, and come to a few conclusions.


If you ever wanted to hear about the underbelly of the wine industry and how wine writing works when advertisers in the industry are involved, as well as the power structure that prevents more honesty in wine, this is the podcast for you. Sign up for the Wine-Searcher newsletter to keep up with him. 

 

Don is one of the best guests I've ever had and I personally love this show! 

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

To sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  

 

Jun 15, 2020
Ep 329: Muscadet - The Overlooked White of the Loire
39:06

The wine world often looks at Muscadet with disdain for its lighter body and subtlety of flavor. But for white wine lovers who care less about showiness and want something with the interplay of acidity with nutty, bread flavors and soft textures, this historic wine is a thrill. There is far more to this wine than there used to be, as it has continued to improve since the 1980s and seems to get better every year.

 

This week we discuss this westernmost area of Loire Valley, which lies along the banks of the river and its tributaries. We review Muscadet and the grape Melon -- its storied history – from being a defiled grape in Burgundy (it was outlawed in 1567!), to finding its place in the Loire (albeit with a strange name), to moving from just a grape to be distilled to a legitimate wine that, at the top end, can age more than a decade.

Here are a few of the show notes that you may have missed:

  • Muscadet is not the name of the grape (that’s Melon de Bourgogne) or a place (that’s the Pays Nantais) but it is a huge part of the AOC system and there are many appellations named after it.
  • The maritime climate in the Muscadet area makes it warmer than other parts of the Loire – the Gulf Stream, the river, and the humidity make for a more consistent temperature. But the perils of this area are many – rain, frost, ice storms, hail are all possible and can be devastating to the vines.
  • As we mentioned, Muscadet is scattered across many areas – some of it is gently rolling hills near the river, much is in fertile flats near the estuary. The best areas are on the hills.
  • This area was once a hotbed of volcanic activity. Soils vary here – granite and gabbro (a harder form of granite) make up the subsoils in the better regions, yielding complex wines. Gneiss, sand, silt, and gravel provide much-needed drainage – in this are with so much moisture the vines must stay dry!
  • Lest you think this area is one-note, there are now producers like Domaine l’Écu, Jo Landron and Pépiere that make wines from multiple terroir to show their differences!

The grape, the wine, the appellations:

  • There is only one grape permitted in Muscadet: Melon de Bourgogne
    • In the Pays Nantais, other grapes do grow -- Folle Blanche, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir
  • The styles of the wines have changed over the years. Producers used to pick early but of late, they prefer to pick later to develop more flavor. This presents a tradeoff between fruit and complexity with higher acidities. Still, the ripeness is limited – there is a maximum alcohol for Muscadet of 12% ABV.
  • Muscadet is best described as a wine that is salty, acidic with lemon, lime, chamomile, herb and gunflint aromas and flavors. With techniques like sur lie aging (to promote autolysis), bâtonnage (lies stirring), fermenting in oak barrels, and extended skin contact the wines acquire a soft, bready, creamy texture that is unique to this wine – it’s light yet has subtle dimension when made well.

There are 4 main appellations:

  • Muscadet: Light-to-medium-bodied floral, fruity notes and good acidity. It can be very meh, as it’s often not grown on the best sites.
  • Muscadet Sèvre et Maine: (sub AOC) 75% of output. This is the largest Muscadet appellation and it’s the home of the top wines. The area is where La Petite Maine and La Sèvre Nantaise rivers meet. It has much more dimension, flavor, and aroma than general Muscadet –there is more elevation, better soil types, and the wines are generally aged sur lie for more interest. We mention special terroirs/CRU
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Clisson
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Gorges
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Le Pallet
  • Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire: In the northernmost area, the quality and ripeness of the grapes varies based on vintage. Cooler years don’t bode well for this region!
  • Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu: In the southwest around Grandlieu Lake, this wine is rich, full, and flowery with lower acidity but with good balance.

 

Top Producers: Pierre Luneau-Papin, Domaine de la Pépiere, Jo Landron, Stéphane, Orieux, Domaine du Fief aux Dame, Domaine de l’Ecu

Other areas we mention:

  • Coteaux d’Anciens --reds and rosés Gamay, semi-sweet whites of Pinot Gris
  • Fiefs Vendeens (+regional designation like Brem, Chantonnay, Mareuil, Pissotte, Vix are communes allowed): Chenin for whites, Pinot Noir or Cab Franc for reds
  • Gros Plant du Pays Nantais: Folle Blanche with some Colombard

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

To sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  

Jun 09, 2020
Ep 328: The Wines of Lebanon
39:39

With a history that stretches back perhaps 9,000 years to 7,000 B.C., Lebanon contains some of the original winemaking areas. In spite of political turmoil, violence, and opposition to wine (and all alcohol) and winemaking, this country has always found a way to keep production alive. Its unlikely location and small size may seem, at first glance, to be an impossibility for quality wine but the geography and the fortitude of the people here have created a unique and enduring wine culture.

 

In the show we discuss the long history of Lebanon in wine -- from the Phoenicians, to the Greeks and Romans, monks, and then to the French, who had such a huge influence in their 30 year tie to this region between World War I and World War II.

Below are some notes on the climate, the spellings of the regions, and the producers we mention:

  • Lebanon is only about 150 miles long and 60 wide but it is extremely varied in terms of altitude and topography -- with beaches, hills, and high, snow-capped mountains all contained within. 
    • It is at 33.5˚N latitude, about the same as Margaret River in Australia, and within the traditional grape growing band of 30˚-50˚ latitude (north or south)
    • There are four main geographic regions: the coastal plain, the Mount Lebanon range (altitudes of nearly 10,000 feet), the Bekaa Valley, and the Anti-Lebanon Range
    • Most wine producers are in the western Bekaa but some are experimenting with new terroir in Batroun and  areas in the Eastern Bekaa
  • The key to good wine in Lebanon is altitude: The Bekaa Valley has altitude of around 1,000m/3,820ft. This is a plateau but there is a moderating influence of Mount Lebanon and the area has snowmelt and rain runoff from the mountain to provide ample water for grapes
  • The soils are colluvial (runoff from mountains) so they are divers and contain limestone, clay/loam, stones, gravel and some red terra rossa soil similar to Coonawarra in South Australia

 

  • Climate is Mediterranean, with long, dry and often very hot summers. The mountains and valley get very cold at night and the diurnal temperature swings are so dramatic that grapes can maintain acidity if grown in the right places 
  • The Wines:

    • Only about 2,000 ha/4,942 acres are cultivated and yields are extremely low

    • The main reds are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault (the grape with the longest heritage), Carignan, Grenache, with Merlot, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir

    • The main whites are: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, Muscat, Clairette, and Riesling along with indigenous grapes Merwah and Obaideh

    • The wines have always been known for excellent fragrance, spice, and a sweet aroma (but not flavor)
    • French influence is everywhere in these wines-- some of the top wine producers from France consult for wineries in Lebanon and help craft the wines of the top producers

 

Top Producers are:


Above: Ixsir

Most of these wines are around USD$20! They are worth a try! 

 

_____________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

To sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  Wine Access is fantastic and satisfaction is guaranteed! Give them a try -- you won't regret it!  

Jun 03, 2020
Ep 327: Wine Ingredient Labeling Pushes Forward in the EU -- with Barnaby Eales
33:07

I know this topic may seem wonky, but consider a world where you could look at a wine label and see if there was extra, unwanted sweetness or if the wine was packed with chemicals (actual picture of big hulking winery, below).

Collaboration, Communication, and Problem Solving: Key Skills Sharpened in PhD Student Colleen Szeto at an Internship with E. & J. Gallo Winery | ARC Innovative Wine Production                  

                                                    

Barnaby Eales, international wine journalist takes us through the European Union's ultimatum to producers, the machinations they are going through, and the likely outcomes of transparency in wine. From the impact on top conventional producers (it should be great -- they can finally stand up to "natural wine" producers and say their products aren't loaded with chemicals) to the producers that may have to cop to a list of additives a mile long (industrial wine, I'm looking at you!), we go over the ramifications of this initiative, the complications behind it, and the benefits transparency brings to us all. 

Barnaby's article is here: The EU Moves on Wine Ingredient Labeling

Above: Barnaby Eales, Journalist

______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 26, 2020
Ep 326: The Best Spanish Wines You've Never Heard of -- Jumilla and Yecla
38:53

Tucked into a small corner of southeast Spain is one of the greatest sources for delicious, multi-layered, and decadent reds you’ll find. In the province of Murcia, at latitude 39˚N lay two regions of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) production that have quietly churned out wine for more than 3,000 years: Jumilla (joo-ME-yah) and Yecla (YAY-clah).

Today, these regions are magnificent but receive so little press that we can get exquisite bottles that have the fullness, richness and depth for less than US$20.

 

In the podcast, we take you through the wine history of the region --from the early days with the Phoenicians to the Romans and then the Moors, and then a few strange brushes with the phylloxera root louse that at first propelled the region’s wines, then decimated the land and ultimately saved this area from a fate of nasty bulk production to make it a quiet haven of powerful reds.

 

We discuss the conditions in Murcia, discuss Bullas, a small Denominacíon de Origen and then we move to the big guns of this area: Jumilla and Yecla.

 

Jumilla 

Jumilla is the best area quality in Murcia and also makes the most wine. Vineyards are spread across a wide valleys and plateaus surrounded by mountains. A few geological and climate facts:

  • The high elevation of the vineyards -- between 1,300 -2,600 ft (400 -800 m) make it possible for grapes to cool at night and maintain acidity.
  • The soils here are dark and have a high limestone content. They’re permeable but have good moisture retaining properties, allowing the vines during the harsh summer droughts.
  • This is a very difficult place to grow things – it’s a harsh, dry, continental climate that is tempered a bit by Mediterranean breezes but is brutal in its dry heat.

 

Jumilla is one of Spain’s oldest DOs – its historical legacy as a high-quality wine producer is well known in its native land. It now makes whites, reds, and rosés, although the reds are the flagship for the region.

  • Red grapes include: Monastrell, Tempranillo (called Cencibel here), Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The French varietals were added to the Monastrell to create more dimension in the finished wine (read: international appeal). This has been critically acclaimed, however some of it muddies the character of the grape.
  • White grapes include: Aíren, Macabeo, Pedro Ximenez, Malvasia, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Mosacatel de Grano Menudo
  • Although not mentioned in the podcast, the Jumilla DO has several areas it draws from: Jumilla, Montealegre, Fuenteálamo, Tobarra, Hellín, Ontur, and Albatana. 40% of the wine is from Jumilla proper.

Monastrell represents 85% of the vines planted and 80% of any blend must be this grape. The character of the wine is superb:  it tastes like dark fruit, earth, and minerals with a brambly, gamy character. With age, these flavors mellow to be more like dark soil, coffee and spice.

 

Although it isn’t prevalent, Jumilla makes rosé from 80% Monastrell too -- in the best versions it’s similar to the rosé of Bandol, in Provence, France with some acidity and tannin and, from a careful producer, the opportunity to potentially have a longer life than 1 year.

 

Modern technology, good farming and a consistent climate mean there isn’t a lot of vintage variation here although the region does have aging classifications similar to Rioja:

  • Vino joven ("young wine") or Sin crianza: little, if any, wood aging.
  • Crianza:
    • Reds: aged for 1 year total -- at least 6 months in oak, 6 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: at least 1 year with at least 4 months in oak.
  • Reserva:
    • Reds: aged for at least 2 years -- at least 12 months in oak, 12 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: aged at least 18 months with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Gran Reserva: Made only above average vintages.
    • Reds: 4 years aging, 12 months of which in oak and a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak

 

Wine Map of Spain

Yecla

Towards the end of the show, we discuss the smallest and northernmost wine zone in Murcia, Yecla. This area is landlocked by other DOs: Jumilla DO to the southwest, Almansa DO to the north, and Alicante DO to the east. It’s 50 miles (80km) inland and represents a transition from more coastal Mediterranean influences to hotter, arid continental conditions.

 

Yecla is similar to Jumilla in that its altitude allows the grapes to maintain acidity at night, creating balance in the wines.

  • White grapes: Airen, Macabeo, Merseguera, Malvasia, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. These wines are usually blended. A small amount of sparkling wine is also made here.
  • Red grapes: similar to those of Jumilla, but the blends must have a least 85% Monastrell. The area has transitioned from making a light, very fruity red to making more serious reds with spice mineral and red fruit notes, after seeing the success Jumilla has enjoyed.

If you haven’t tried these wines yet, get on it. They will become your new go-to and a total revelation for your palate (and wallet!).

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 19, 2020
Ep 325: The Greats -- Alsace Riesling
52:16

Alsace Riesling is, without a doubt, one of the greatest white wines of the world. With its rich body, effusive flavor that ranges from flowers to fruit to nuts and spice, and acidity to keep it in balance, this liquid gold has been famed for centuries. It was the wine that got me into wine, my "aha" wine but even without that, I would still love the wine. 

Alsace has a rich history (it's been the ball in a ping pong match between Germany and France for centuries), and a complex geology and climate.

 

Alsace is a land of paradoxes. It labels wines by grape and bottles in tall German-style but its wines are distinctively French in their elegant, silky, voluptuous style. It is one of the most northerly growing regions in the world at (47˚ - 49˚  north latitude) and yet the summers are hot, dry, and sunny due to its location in the rainshadow of the Vosges Mountains. It is a small area, yet it contains 13 soil types, and more microclimates than can be counted. 

There is wonderful wine to be had from Riesling -- from the basic wines of the plains to crémant (sparkling) to unctuous sweet wines (Vendanges Tardives and Selection de Grains Nobles) but the Greats of Alsace are the top wines of the Grands Crus.

 

These 51 sites are not all exceptional, but those that are make wines of unparalleled aroma, flavor, and texture that still have the pointed acidity you'd expect from Alsace. When you get a great Alsace Grand Cru Riesling, it is a memorable experience that you never forget. Here are a few details that may have been hard to catch from the show:

 

Geology and Climate deets:

  • We discuss the graben (not the mythical creature we posit it could be and for which we provide side effects): a trough formed by two parallel faults that rubbed and broke many geological eras ago.
  • We mention the various soil types -- volcanic, gneiss, granite, schist, limestone, marl, sand, loess, loam alone and together

 

We discuss the classifications of Alsace:

  • Alsace AOC 
  • Alsace Communes:
    • Bergheim
    • Blienschwiller
    • Coteaux du Haut Koenigsbourg
    • Cotes de Rouffach
    • Cotes de Barr
    • Klevner de Heiligenstein
    • Ottrott
    • Rodern
    • Scherwiller
    • Hippolyte
    • Vallee Noble
    • Val St. -Gregoire
    • Wolxheim
  • Alsace Lieu-Dit: A plot or vineyard with special character – have to meet strict requirements

 

Alsace Grand Cru examples discussed:  

  • Schlossberg – 1st Grand cru, 1975
  • Hengst
  • Brand
  • Rangen  (challenging vineyard, ages well)
  • Schoenenbourg  (where Voltaire one owned vines)

Producers mentioned:

  • Reliably DRY producers: Trimbach (Clos Sainte Hune Cuvée Frédéric Émile), Ostertag and Kreydenweiss
  • Others: Zind-Humbrecht, Josmeyer, Hugel, Domaine Weinbach, Beyer

*All photos courtesy of Vins d'Alsace

__________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 14, 2020
Ep 324: Chile's Cool Climate Wines of Casablanca, San Antonio Valleys
33:05

Cool climate wines are in high demand, as many of us seek wines that are on the lighter side but still have fruit and ripeness. We usually turn to places of high latitude for that, but on this show we tell you about an unlikely region for some of the best and yet most affordable cool climate wine around: the Casablanca Valley, San Antonio, and Leyda Valley -- all in a small area at 33˚south latitude!

 

Here are the show notes:

Both located in the far western coastal areas of the Aconcagua wine region, Casablanca and San Antonio are in mountainous coastal country that experiences cool to cold breezes due to the Humboldt current coming up from Antarctica. There are a handful of producers that make wines from these areas, but thankfully most of them are widely distributed so we have a chance to try these acidic yet fruity wines with little hunting around. 

 

Valle de Casablanca

  • Casablanca and Valparaíso are famed (at least in their homeland) and were voted, as a unit, as one of the 10 Great Wine Capitals of the world. The food, wine, and the ease of visiting vineyards make it an ideal destination. 
  • Until the 1980s, livestock grazed and grain grew where vineyards would soon pop up. It was then that Pablo Morandé, who was working for the giant winery Concha y Toro, realized that the Casablanca Valley had tremendous potential to make cool climate wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. 
  • Within a few decades the area was thriving. Producers set up shop, including:  Montsecano, Kingston Vineyards, Casas del Bosque, Veramonte, Loma Larga, Quintay, Cono Sur – and Pablo Morandé's Bodegas Re 

 The Geography/Climate

  • Casablanca is in the eastern part of Valparaíso province just 30km/20 miles from the Pacific Ocean at its furthest point.
  • At 33˚S, the Humboldt Current from the Antarctic is the only reason viticulture can work so well here. The area has cool early morning fog, which both depresses temperature and keeps the air most -- important in this water-deprived area. Cool afternoon breezes and regular cloud cover slow the ripening period of the grapes. It is so cold here that spring frosts can be an issue! 
  • Similar to Santa Barbara, in California Casablanca is a transverse valley – it runs east to west, funneling in cool ocean air and creating wines that are flavorful yet highly acidic.
  • Look for excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling

Chile Wine Map Wine For Normal People Book

 

San Antonio Valley and it's Zone, Leyda Valley

  • In province of San Antonio, only 55 miles (90km) west of central Santiago and south of Casablanca is San Antonio, which was planted a decade later than Casablanca, in the late 1990s. It is similar to its neighbor to the north, in that it is also heavily influenced by the effects of the ocean but here the mountains turn north to south again, and the area must rely on a closer proximity to the ocean and wind gaps in the coastal range to provide cool air. 
  • This is an up-and-coming area with a limited number of producers, many of them small. 
  • Sauvignon Blanc is the flagship wine but there is some great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and sparkling wine as well. 

 

 The Leyda Valley is sub-region or zone of San Antonio

  • The valley is 9 miles from the coast and in some areas the vineyards are on the west (sea-facing) side of the coastal mountain range, so it’s quite a bit cooler than Casablanca, which is on the other side of the hills. 
  • The sharp diurnals, poor soils, and long growing season make Leyda's wine display fresh fruit flavors, ripe tannins, with high acidity.
  • Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot shine here.
  • Unfortunately Leyda's growth is limited because it is so dry here. When winemaking began here, a 5 mile pipeline from the Maipo River in the south was built to irrigate vineyards. Those areas without water rights can't grow grapes, even if the exposures and soils are good. Until that gets resolved, Leyda will be limited to a few players. Viña Leyda and Garcés Silva are two wineries here – but Montes Alpha, Undurraga  and others source grapes to make wine from here.

 

These wines are all worthy of your time and attention! Go and get some! 

___________________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

1. Connect Skylight to a power source and it powers up.
2. Tap our touch screen to connect to Wi-Fi in <60 seconds.
3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

May 04, 2020
Ep 323: Dao Region of Portugal -- The Burgundy of the Iberian Peninsula
38:59

Located in north-central Portugal, just a three-hour drive from Lisbon, Dão is a small quiet region with outstanding, elegant, and distinctive wines. Named for the Dão river which carves a path through the rugged, old granite hills here, the region is the original home of Portugal’s top red grape, Touriga Nacional.

Map from the Wine For Normal People Book

Made up of tens of thousands of growers and small plots, just 5% of the land area of this region is planted to vines, 80% of which are red grapes. The hot, dry climate of this distinctive region is made possible by its unique position on a plateau sheltered on 3 sides by granite mountain ranges – the Serra da Estrela, the Serra do Caramulo, and the Serra da Nave.

 

Mountains protect the area from the capricious Atlantic and continental storms, and the provide altitude which means the grapes can cool down at night, hoarding precious acidity.  The granite subsoil also helps boost the acidity of the wines, making them fresh and bright, rather than dark and brooding as is often the case in the Douro wines.

 

There are seven subregions can be on the bottle: Alva, Besteiros, Castendo, Serra da Estrela, Silgueiros, Terras de Azurara, and  Terras de Senhorim, but you will rarely see them (at the time of this show in 2020, at least).

What can you expect from the wines?

Reds produce medium bodied wines with spicey, peppery, and red fruit notes. They can be earthy or even barnyard like with an excellent balance of alcohol and acidity. This is the new style of Dão, for which it has become known, and along with its myriad plots, this lightness and elegance is why some refer to the region as the Burgundy of Portugal. Older styles were harsh, tannic, and lacked both fruit and acidity – rustic to say the least. The grapes used here are:

  • Touriga Nacional as the leading red --At least 20% of every blend must be Touriga
  • Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo of Spain)
  • Jaen (Mencía of Spain)
  • Alfrocheiro Preto – a native to this area with dark color, dark fruit character and a good balance of alcohol and acid
  • Rufete – a lesser used, fruity red
  • And sometimes Baga, Bastardo (usually for lesser wines)

File:Touriga Nacional.jpg

Touriga Nacional

Styles: Whites used to be oxidized and like a day old apple but with better winemaking they are now refreshing  with citrus, mineral, and nut notes with great acidity. The best are exclusively made of Encruzado, with its floral notes and oily textures it is a white to seek out. Malvasia Fina, Bical, and Arinto are also used in whites.

Rosé and Sparkling  wines can also be found in the Dão.

Great producers to see out are:

  • Quinta dos Carvalhais – Sogrape -- (The Oaks Estate)
  • Quinta da Pellada/Quinta de Saes
  • Casa de Santar
  • Quinta do Vale das Escadinhas
  • Quinta de Lemos

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

1. Connect Skylight to a power source and it powers up.
2. Tap our touch screen to connect to Wi-Fi in <60 seconds.
3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

 

StoryWorth is a fun and meaningful way to engage with family, especially with relatives you might not get to see often. This online service helps your loved-ones share stories through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. It’s the gift of spending time together, wherever you live.

 

Give the mom in your life the most meaningful gift this year with StoryWorth. Get started right away without the need for shipping by going to www.StoryWorth.com/normal. You’ll get $10 off your first purchase! 

Apr 28, 2020
Ep 322: The Hudson River Region of NY with Fjord Vineyards
46:21

Spanning a large portion of New York, just about an hour north of Manhattan, lies one of the oldest winemaking regions in the US: The Hudson River Region AVA.

This week Casey Erdmann and Matt Spacarelli of Fjord Vineyards join to talk about the Hudson River Region and the innovative things they are doing there. 

To start the show, MC Ice and I give a quick overview of the area:

  • We go WAY back to the glaciers and talk about how this area came to have so many different soil types, a varied terrain, and the mighty Hudson River.
  • We discuss the continental climate, and the challenges that come with heat and humidity (hint: grape vine diseases) 
  • We talk about how large the region is. It encompasses all or part of big counties:  Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.
    • It is 224,000 acres, but just 450 acres are planted to wine grapes
  • We discuss common grapes here:
    • Vitis labrusca (native): Concord, Delaware, Niagara
    • French-American Hybrids: Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc,  Baco Noir (among others)
    • Vitis vinifera that is cold tolerant: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc 

Then I discuss the region with Casey and Matt. Matt grew up in the region and his family owns the historic Benmarl Winery where he is the head winemaker and GM. He gives us great insight and detail around the region -- its history, its challenges, and its opportunities. 

File:Hudson River Valley.jpg

We have a lively discussion around French-American hybrids (we may or may not discuss how they taste like burnt hair), and what their role is for wine regions.

Finally we discuss Fjord Vineyards which was founded in 2013 so the couple to make wines of Vitis vinifera from local parcels that express the terroir of the region. They make balanced, sustainable wines of Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, and Cabernet Franc that reflect where they are grown and are delicious! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

1. Connect Skylight to a power source and it powers up.
2. Tap our touch screen to connect to Wi-Fi in <60 seconds.
3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

Apr 21, 2020
Ep 321: The Greats -- Côte Rôtie, Rhône Valley
50:58

One of the greatest wines of the world is the Syrah-based Côte Rôtie, from the northernmost appellation in the northern Rhône. Named "roasted slope" after the sun that bathes the south-facing slopes, the region is less than 25 miles south of Lyon near the town of Ampuis, and is at the cool-climate limit for growing Syrah.

On the right bank of the Rhône, across 3 communes of Saint-Cyr sur Rhône, Ampuis, and Tupin-Semons, the vineyards are on extremes slopes at 180m/590 ft and 325m/1070 ft above sea level.
 

This week we explain what makes these wines, from this tiny, historic area, so very fascinating and why they truly are one of the greatest wines in the world. 

 

I think the best thing to do in the show notes this time is to list the things that are hard to catch on the show. Rather than a lengthy recap, this time I'll list the regions and producers mentioned!

 

Sub areas

 Ampuis: The area that lies above Ampuis town contains the best sites. The Reynard River serves as the geological dividing lie between the schist soils of the northern part of the appellation, and the granite soils in the south. 

Schist: 

  • Cote Brune – Schist soils make  powerful, tannic, darker
  • Chavaroche – Borders Cote Brune. Bernard Levet produces a single vineyard Cote Rotie from here
  • La Landonne – Famed for Guigal’s La Landonne but Gerinn, Rene Rostaing, Delas and Xavier Gerard also make wine from here
  • Cote Rozier- some of the steepest sites in Cote Rotie. Great wines include Ogier’s Belle Helene, and wines from Jamet, Guigal, Bonnefond and Gangloff
 
Granite:
  • Cote blonde – Vastly different soils and more Viognier. The soil is granite and the wines are more aromatic and lighter. The famed La Mouline vineyard is here
 

The village of Tupin  has no single vineyards but makes some great wine

The Village of Verenay is the next village upstream from Ampuis, and producers full, rich, long-lived wines. The vineyards of interest are Grandes Places, and Vialliere (10 hectares makes it quite variable in quality)

 St Cyr is in the far north of the AOC, past Verenay. It was added in the 1960s and is on schist but not as good as the wines near Ampuis. 
 

Top Producers

TRADITIONAL:  Domaine Gilles Barge –most traditional practices,Domaine Bernard Levet  
 
MODERN: Guigal, Gerin, Bonnefond
 

Middle ground:

  • Domaine Jamet: one of the brothers went off to set up his own domaine, Jean-Luc Jamet, both are very good
  • Rene  Rostaing: Rene's son Pierre took over a few years ago – wines are amazing. Single vineyards from Cote Blonde and La Landonee, Ampodium blend for early drinking.
  • Clusel-Roch  from Verenay, single vineyard from Grandes Places
  • Stephane Ogier
  • Vidal-Fleury (the merchant house for which Marcel Guigal's father once worked as cellarmaster but which now belongs to Guigal). 
  • Chapoutier

 

Top Vintages: 1997, 1998,  2001, 2003, 2007, 2009-10, 2012, 2015-19
 

_______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

1. Connect Skylight to a power source and it powers up.
2. Tap our touch screen to connect to Wi-Fi in <60 seconds.
3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

Apr 14, 2020
Ep 320: The Grape Miniseries -- Carignan (Mazuelo)
41:37

Carignan or Mazuelo, as it's known in its native Spain, is a complicated grape that gets a terrible rap. But the truth is, in the right hands and growing in the right conditions, this grape can fashion powerful wines that are pure hedonistic pleasure! 

  File:VIVC2098 CARIGNAN NOIR Cluster in the field 8921.jpg

Carignan has a long history. The grape is likely from Aragon in northeast Spain, but it spread around the Iberian Peninsula. It’s current Spanish name, Mazuelo comes from Mazuelo de Muñó, a town in Castilla y Leon in northwest Spain. Carignan may have originated in its namesake town of Cariñena, which is a Denomiacíon de Origen (DO) that grows mainly Garnacha Tinta. From these parts of Spain, Mazuelo spread to Catalunya in northeast Spain and then during the reign of the Crown of Aragon to the area it ruled. The grape:

  • Was introduced to Sardinia, the Italian island, sometime between 1323-1720
  • Moved to Algeria where it became a high yielding grape that was exported to France to bolster French blends in the color, acidity, and tannin department

The grape became commonplace in France after three incidents: phylloxera in the late 1800s, a frost destroyed the other “workhorse” grape,  Aramon in 1956 and 1963, and the independence of Algeria of 1962 brought French-Algerian winemakers into the Languedoc-Roussillon region who brought their trusty workhorse grape.

Pied Noir from Algeria

The over vigorous nature of the grape made it produce rustic, flavorless wines with rough tannin and high acid. It contributed majorly to the wine lake of the EU (low quality wine that was subsidized by the EU and then needed to be dealt with because there was no demand for it). Nearly half the Carignan in the Languedoc was grubbed up in the 1990s and today no one is planting it, as the only value in it is in grapes that are more than 50 years old.

 

When the vines are old, the soil is poor, and the climate is hot, Carignan makes wines that are full of dark cherry fruit, blueberries, violet and other floral notes. It’s full-bodied with (sometimes dusty-feeling) tannins and great acidity, and moderate alcohol. Winemakers have to be careful to ensure the fermentation gets enough oxygen or the wines can take on a burnt match/reductive note.

 

Where does the grape grow??

 Old World: 

France: 80% of the Carignan plantings are in the Languedoc-Roussillon – and make ordinary Vins de Pays (countryside) wine. Some appellations: Minervois, Corbières, Faugères, Fitou, Languedoc, and St-Chinian each have a certain amount of Carignan specified in their AOCs and use carbonic maceration to soften the tannin and produce fruitier notes in their Carignan. The best wines come from old vines, as is the case in all areas.

 

Really the two best places for Carignano/Mazuelo are Italy and Spain...

Italy: The grape here is called Carignano and 97% is planted on the island of Sardegna, where it has been called Bovale Grande or Bovale di Spagna. Because of the name difference,  it was only recently discovered that this grape is Carignan. The grape grows well in the hot, dry south-western corner of Sardinia. The best co-op is Santadi, which makes soft, supple, fruity, and rich wine from the Carignano del Sulcis DOC.  Rocco Rubine and Terre Brune are great wines from the co-op.

Spain: Mazuelo is found as a dwindling part of the Rioja blend
(although Marquis de Murrieta makes a varietal Mazuelo). The place the grape shines is Catalunya, especially Priorat. Here the vineyard recipe for this grape is perfect: 100+ year old vines, schist slopes (llicorella), poor soils, and a hot, dry climate. The wines it yields are silky, rich, powerful and luscious, especially when blended with Garnacha.

 

In the old world you can also find the grape in Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and Israel.

 

New World

In the New World, the grape is found in Uruguay, Australia (South Australia),  Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa.

In the US, in California, the grape is spelled Carignane and has historically been used as  a major component in jug and box wines, and was a popular grape home winemaking in the 1970s and 1980s. Like all Carignan, the best in California is found where there is old bush vines – places like Mendocino, Sonoma, Contra Costa County and other areas.

 

Chile has great promise for the wine as well – especially with the ancient, dry farmed Carignan in Maule Valley.

 

There seems to be hope for Carignan as younger producers have taken an interest in giving it the attention it needs to make good wine. The grape has great potential!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Apr 06, 2020
Ep 319: How to Get Great Rhône Wine with Serge Doré, French Wine Importer
01:05:32

Serge Doré is a fan favorite and he returns to tell us about the place in France where he feels most at home: the Rhône. He's been in wine for decades, since he got his start in his native Quebec, and has been a wine importer and wholesaler out of Chappaqua, New York for almost as long as he's been in wine. To order any of the wines he mentions or those you find on Serge Dore Selections , go to Grapes The Wine Company

We've learned about life as an importer and about the business of wine in Bordeaux from Serge, and this time he tells us about the Rhône. If you are unfamiliar with the area, I'd check out the Rhône overview show first. This show goes into detail on regions and Serge regals us with stories of meetings with famous producers, and the spectacular wines they make. 

 

The show notes this week are primarily a list of the many producers Serge mentions in the show.

 

Big Northern Rhône Names:

  • E. Guigal (king of Côte Rôtie), 
  • Domaine Jean Michel Gerin (Côte Rôtie)
  • M. Chapoutier (king of Hermitage)
  • Domaine Jean-Louis Chave (Hermitage, mainly)
  • Cornas: Domaine August Clape, Domaine Alain Voge (the Cornas appellation is much improved, more elegant)
  • St. Joseph: J.L. Chave, Domaine Chez, Delas, Anthony Paret (also makes excellent Condrieu, a white-only appellation of Viognier)
  • Crozes-Hermitage: Laurent Fayolle, Cave de Tain

It's from the southern Rhône but here we also mention a Roussanne wine in this converasation of whites: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 

 

One great nugget Serge shares on Condrieu: It's good the year it is released, not after. Also, don't forget Hermitage Blanc -- it's stunning.

 Southern Rhône

 We discuss fewer producers and more about the differences in Cru:

  • Vinsobres: Higher in altitude, cooler climate, more elegant wine
  • Cairanne: Bigger wine, bolder than Vinsobres
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueryas: Are all bolder styles
  • Others mentioned: Lirac, Rasteau, Beaumes de Venise

Serge tells us the trick to getting good Cotes du Rhone: which is buy a brand, not something you’ve never seen unless you know the importer or producer! If you want the Estate Côte du Rhône he imports:  Domaine de Dionysos.

Serge tells us the most important thing about the Rhône and maybbe about wine in general these days:

 “It depends on who makes the wine and the attention they pay to the wines” 

   

And according to Serge this is getting easier as the younger generation is looking to focus on quality not quantity! Go togo to Grapes The Wine Company to order any of the wines Serge discusses! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

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Mar 30, 2020
Ep 318: High Altitude Wines
38:29

High altitude wines are often discussed in the wine world, but what REALLY defines high altitude? There are a lot of features that would make a region qualify but the keys to determining “high elevation” are latitude and altitude and their cross section. At lower latitudes, elevations are way higher than at higher latitudes. Places at elevation share characteristics like cool nighttime temperatures, dryness (no mold or disease), later harvest dates, a good amount of wind, and higher levels of UV radiation.  

 

Among other things, we discuss this study (BMC Plant Biol. 2014; 14: 183. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4099137/) which discusses the genetic adaptation and metabolic changes that happen in high altitude grapes.

Catena Zapata, Adrianna Vineyard -- Mendoza, Argentina

The upshot: thicker skins that protect against the heat of the day and the cool of the night produce wines with greater body, flavor and aromatics. Wines can be lower or higher in alcohol depending on the latitude, but the similarity of these grapes is that they taste like fresh, newly picked fruit becuase of the fresh acidity retained because of cooler temperatures at night, wind, and the long growing season.

 

We mention some examples of these vineyard areas. In Europe, we mention:

  • Val d’Aosta in Italy, below Mont Blanc in Alps
  • Dolomites in Alto Adige
  • Tenerife in the Canary Islands
  • Etna in Sicily
  • Armenia
  • I also refer to Switzerland and Jura and Savoie in France (although these French regions are not quite as high as the other regions we discuss)

 

In the New World

  • In the US, specifically Fox Fire Farms in Ignacio, Colorado (6,500 ft!)
  • Some of the world’s highest vineyards in South America:
    • Colomé Altura Máxima, in the province of Salta, Argentina at 3,011m/9,878 ft
    • In the JuJuy province of Argentina is the Quebrada de Humahuaca GI at 3,329m/ 10,922 feet above sea level, Claudio Zucchino makes his famed Uraqui blend
    • We mention Mendoza, Argentina
  • In South Africa, Mount Sutherland is at 1,500 m/4,921 ft

 

After some discussion, we conclude that “higher” does not automatically mean “better” and that although altitude is short hand for a fresh wine, unless it’s on a slope and at elevation, you can’t always rely on that heuristic!

 

Don't forget to sign up for online classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 24, 2020
Ep 317: Valpolicella and Amarone from Veneto, Italy with Filippo Bartolotta
58:14

Filippo Bartolotta joins us again to explain the wonders and changing nature of the Valpolicella region in northeast Italy. Filippo tells us about the geological underpinnings of the region, how the winemaking styles developed here, and what's gone on in modern history. 

We cover things you many of you have asked about in the past, like...

  • Where and what Valpolicella is

  • The difference between Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classica, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Amarone della Valpolicella
  • We discuss Amarone and why it's hard to make, expensive, and HUGE as a wine (hint-dried grapes = intense wines!)
  • We talk about the appassimento technique and how it used to be used to help unripe grapes taste a little better

 

  • Filippo gives us a summary of the 13 valleys of the "Valley of many cellars" , as Valpolicella translates from Latin. He mentions some of the more awesome one like Fumane, Marano and Negrar(which I think we'll see on labels in the future)

  • We talk about the blend here and how a grape that we didn't even know existed a few decades ago is now a main part of the quality blends (Corvinone). 
  • Filippo goes over the flavor profiles of (from lightest to heaviest here...) and food that goes with it:
    • Valpolicella (lighter pastas)
    • Valpolicella Superiore (pastas with meat)
    • Valpolicella Classica (depends on the producer's styles)
    • Valpolicella Ripasso (bolder, heavier grilled meat and vegetables)
    • Amarone della Valpolicella (long, slow-cooked meats with a lot of flavor, game, hard cheeses and grilled vegetables)

And finally, the producer list:

  • Cult producers: Quintarelli, Dal Forno Romano
  • Others: Roccolo Grassi, Latium Morini, Secondo Marco (especially for Classica), Villa San Carlo, Bocaini Carlo (old school Ripasso), Novaia, Ca dei Maghi, Cà la Bionda, Bertani, Pasqua, Tenute Falezza, and Corte Sant'Alba (for biodynamic wines)

 

Check out Filippo's website for cooking classes and luxury custom tours of Italy! 

 

Don't forget to sign up for online classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 18, 2020
Ep 316: Women of Bordeaux with Caroline Perromat of Ch Cerons and Sylvie Courselle of Ch Thieuley
49:47

From Eleanor of Acquitane who married Henry Plantagenet of England in 1152, uniting Britain with Bordeaux and kicking off a lifelong relationship between the two nations, to Caroline de Villeneuve, owner of Château Cantemerle who fought tooth and nail to be included in the 1855 Classification, to Madame Labat whose vision and marketing genius gave us Petrus to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of  Château Mouton-Rothschild and Corinne Mentzelopoulos of Château Margaux women have played a role in Bordeaux for centuries. And in this show we have two women of the current generation. They are here to celebrate women in wine.

 

On this show I talk with Sylvie Coursell of Château Thieuley, whose estate is in the Entre deux Mers and has been in her family since it was acquired in 1950 and who runs the estate with her sister, making lovely red, white, and sparkling wine. And also Caroline Perromat of the historic Graves estate of Château de Cerons. The property has been around since the 18th century, has groundings in the aristocracy of Bordeaux, and is well known for beautiful reds, whites, and especially botrytis affected sweet wines, which rival those of Barsac and Sauternes.

Caroline tells us about the transformation of Bordeaux culture in three generations. Château de Cerons has kept its aristocratic beginnings  but with Caroline and her husband Xavier at the helm, changes have been made. What are three ways this historic property has changed?

  1. Caroline and Xavier have hired people of diverse backgrounds -- women and men from the arts and other industries apart from wine to give the Château a wider, global perspective. 

  2. They work sustainably in their vineyards, so they can maintain the beautiful freshness (acidity, medium body/lower alcohol, mineral character) in the reds, whites and sweet wines. 

  3. They are working to marry tradition with new practices and a new sense of openness to tourists and to wine lovers around the globe to make Bordeaux a more welcoming, warm place where people can have fun. 

Cool fact Caroline shares: The famous more tangerine flavored Cerons sweet wines from Château de Cerons is actually grown side by side with the grapes for the fresh whites. The difference between the grapes: picking times only!

 

Sylvie Courselle of Château Thieuley runs the estate with her sister in Entre-Deux-Mers, the home of excellent, fresh white wines and bright, fruity reds. What are Sylvie's 3 points:

1. There used to be far more white than red in Bordeaux, now there is a mere 9% of whites here. 

2. The new grapes that have been introduced for climate reasons (Marselan, Touriga Nacional, Castets, and Arinarnoa for reds and Alvarinho, Petit Manseng and Liliorila for whites) will give winemakers flexibility that they crave -- she and her sister feel inhibited by the AOC system, so much that they planted Chardonnay and Syrah so they could make wine from them (they are label Vin de France, the general appellation for French wine).  Experimetation in anticipation of climate change has been happening for years, so these grapes are the best options based on research.

3. Sylvie believes that in the next generation, the conversation around women and wine will be a non-issue. She feels the playing field has equalized and that we won't be talking about this in 10 years (I gotta disagree with her, but I love the optimism!).

 

Cool fact from Sylvie: Château Thieuley is named for its soil types of clay "tiles" that surround the estate. Sylvie tells us that many of the Bordeaux chateaux are named in a similar fashion, if they aren't named for the people who founded them.

A great show to salute two fantastic women in wine, this women's history month! 

 

_____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Mar 09, 2020
Ep 315: The Grape Miniseries -- Mourvedre/Monastrell
38:37

The grape miniseries continues! This time we cover the grape known as Monstrell in Spain, Mourvèdre in France, and Mataro in other parts of the world. Difficult to grow and make, when treated well the wines from this grape are unlike any other -- herbal, gamy, powerful.

File:VIVC7915 MONASTRELL Cluster in the field 3422.jpg

The key things to know about Monastrell/Mourvèdre:

  • The grape originated in Spain, and then moved to the Roussillon, Rhône, and Provence in France. It needs a lot of heat to grow, so it can only thrive in hot locations with lots of sun but ample water.
  • Flavors: They vary greatly depending on where the wine is made, but generally it has deep color, full body, is tannic and high in alcohol.
    • Spain: can be more like red fruit -- cherries and raspberries with spice and herbs.
    • France, especially Bandol: the wines have more dark fruit (if any fruit character at all) with spice, olives, herbs (garrigue as they call it in southern France), and a gamy, barnyard or wild animal smell to the wine. With time (3-5 years) that flavor mellows to something more akin to leather or tobacco and the tannins calm. In the new works styles are less tannic and less gamy.
  • In blends: Mourvèdre adds fullness, flavor and structure that complements the more lifted Grenache and the elegant Syrah.
  • In rosé: The grape helps these wines have longevity, lending tannin and great flavor to the wine
  • Food Pairings: Meats or root/hearty vegetables that are braised, grilled, or in a stew. Hard cheeses work too.

 

Where can you find it?

France:

  • Provence: Especially Bandol, where the finest Mourvèdre is made. Producers we mentioned are Domaine Tempier (reds and rosé), Château de Pibarnon
  • Languedoc-Roussillon: one to watch for more varietal Mourvèdre in the future
  • Rhône:  in blends and especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We mention Beaucastel as having a high percentage of Mourvèdre

 

Spain (called Monastrell)

California

Other US:  Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, TX, Virginia, Chile, South Africa

 

Australia

  • Used as a component in GSMs  -- Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre blends
  • South Australia: Riverland (bulk wine), Barossa, McLaren Vale
  • New South Wales: Riverina (bulk wine area)
  • Producers making single varietal Mourvèdre:

 

A link to where I'll be for upcoming Wine For Normal People book signings: www.winefornormalpeople.com 

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 02, 2020
Bonus Sponsored Ep: Vanessa Conlin, MW, Head of Wine for Wine Access
40:42

This bonus episode is sponsored by Wine Access.

Founded by wine lovers and searchers in 2007, each day, they write stories about wines they discover, taste, and evaluate in the cellars where they were made. They negotiate prices on their membership's behalf, then arrange to have bottles shipped directly from the source — right to your door.

 

They stake their reputation on every bottle they select, and it shows! Wine Access offers some wines on their site and their email offers are amazing, so sign up today. 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more!

 

This episode is with Vanessa Conlin, Master of Wine, and the Head of Wine for Wine AccessShe has had a wonderful and unexpected career: While pursuing a career in opera, she discovered a love of food and wine and pursued wine education while continuing her music studies.

 

Eventually, she chose wine over music working in wine in New York. She has been the head of sales and marketing for several prestigious Napa wineries including Arietta Wines, Dana Estates, and Realm Cellars.

 

Vanessa holds the WSET Diploma, and was the recipient of the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. She is a newly minted Master of Wine!! 

 

Some of the topics we cover: 

  • The career transition Vanessa made from a completely different field into wine 
  • The connection between wine and music
  • Vanessa's path to becoming a Master of Wine and the difference between the MS and MW programs
  • The things that make Wine Access so special --
    • Meticulous selection and excellent, original notes done by Vanessa and her team
    • The guarantee of provenance (where the wine came from -- always directly from the winery)
    • A Napa-based service team that can help with shipping and selecting wine, and if any bottle is not to your liking, they'll refund your order.

 

We wrap up by discussing the changes in the industry and how important direct to consumer channels like Wine Access are!

Check out Vanessa's favorite picks on www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more!

Feb 28, 2020
Ep 314: Ribera del Duero, Spain -- a Study in Power and Elegance
54:36

Ribera del Duero makes some of the most outstanding Tempranillo in the world. Located in the northwest of the Spain, about two hours north of Madrid, Ribera del Duero has been making wine for 2,600 years but its modern story is one of a dynamic, changing region that is improving every year. This is an exciting region and an example of Spain's willingness to change, improve and go the distance to produce excellent quality wine.

Here are the show notes:

  • Ribera del Duero is on an elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. Altitude of more than 2,000 feet, varied soils that include limestone cliffs, and the Duero river are defining features of the region.
  • The region follows the course of the Duero river for approximately 115 km/70mi upstream from the southern plains of Burgos, west to Valladolid and includes parts Segovia and Soria to the south and east. The west has the most aromatic wines, the central has fruitier wines, and the east has big, bold wines.
  • The climate of the region has influences of Mediterranean, Atlantic, and continental climates, but is generally pretty extreme (‘three months of winter and nine months of hell’) with hot summers and huge diurnals that result in slow ripening and a long growing season

  • The wines are usually 100% Tempranillo but are allowed to include up to 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec with no more than 5% of Garnacha or the white that is native to this area, Albillo Mayor.
  • These wines are powerful with a full body, black fruit notes and flavors from oak like smoke, vanilla, and tobacco. The best ones are balanced with acidity and tannin.
  • Along with Rioja, Ribera del Duero is the only Spanish wine region that utilizes crianza, reserva and gran reserva for the aging and labeling of its wines.

Top Producers: Aalto, Alión (owned by Vega Sicilia), Alonso del Yerro, Emilio Moro, Pago de Carraovejas, Pesquera, Dominio de Pingus, Vega Sicilia , O Fournier, Hacienda del Monasterio

Links:

 

And don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 25, 2020
Ep 313: The Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy's Hidden Gem
54:30

The famed parts of Burgundy make wine that most of us can only read about in books and articles. But Côte Chalonnaise, just south of those famed parts, is a treasure trove of great whites and reds. Although it has been praised throughout history, in recent times it has been overlooked by Burgundy lovers, despite the fact that in many years it makes wine that isn't so different from its neighbors to the north.

As a quick overview, the region takes its name from the commune of Chalon-sur-Saône, near the Saône River. It is sandwiched between the Côte de Beane and north of the hills of the Maconnais, and here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and the white Aligoté grape grow on soils strikingly similar to Côte de Beaune, which is a mere 3 miles away.

 

The Côte Chalonnaise is between the Dheune and Grosne Valleys. With a continental climate, it rolls over gentle hills with many areas that possess the very same limestone prized (and 3-5 times more for) in the Côte de Beaune.

 

With max’ed out demand for the wines of the Côte d’Or (where the best Pinot is from) and the wines of the Côte de Beaune (the most famed Chardonnay wines, also with excellent Pinot), prices for wines from these areas of Burgundy are simply outrageous. Although the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise are not always as elegant as those from the regions to its north, they are still outstanding wines and better yet, they are wines that we can afford that allow us to taste the land of Burgundy without paying 6 months mortgage for a single bottle.

 

In the rest of the show, we discuss specific appellations. Here are the notes:

 

Regional: Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise

  • The red of Pinot Noir is dark colored, berry and cherry scented and flavored wines often with a mushroom or earth note. The wine has good tannin, acidity and is lovely to drink.
  • The whites of Chardonnay are light colored, with apple, floral, lemon and honey with good acidity. They are often fermented or aged in oak barrels.
  • The rosé is made of Gamay or Pinot Noir and can be herbal, spicy, full of red berry notes and have great acidity.

Cremant de Bourgogne: Although not exclusively made in Chalonnaise, this is the area in which the sparkling wine was first made.  

 

Village:

Bouzeron: The only appellation to make wine from the Aligoté grape, which is acidic, aromatic, and silky when made well.

  • Top producers: A & P de Villaine, André Delorme, Chanzy Frères

 

Rully: The whites of Chardonnay are the best in Côte Chalonnaise and are very often better than comparable wines from the Côte de Beaune for a way better price. Rully is adjacent to Bouzeron and makes excellent Pinot Noir too. The whites of Chardonnay are usually fermented or matured in oak.  The best Crémant is made here as well

  • Top Premiers crus: La Pucelle, Grésigny, Meix Cadot, Montpalais and Champs Cloux.
  • Top producers:  André Delorme, Domaine de la Folie, P & M Jacqueson; Jean-Baptiste Ponsot

 

Mercurey: The Côte Chalonnaise was once known as the Région de Mercurey, because the area is so large and important. Divided into two parts, there are lots of sub valleys on either side which make research necessary to get good wines. 25% of vineyards are classified as Premier Cru, but these are more legitimate than other communes, because Mercurey does regular reviews, to make more stringent conditions than the appellation's other wines (the maximum yields are closer to those of the Cote d’Or). 90% of the wine is flavorful, earthy, spicy Pinot Noir with chewy, rich tannins, great acidity, and mineral notes.

  • Top Premiers crus: Combins, Champs Martin, Clos des Barraults, Clos l’Eveque, from north of the village, and Clos de Roi and En Sazenay from the other side.
  • Top producers: Philippe Garrey; Michel Juillot, Guy Narjoux, Lorenzo, Antonin Rodet

 

Givry: Similar to Mercurey, Givry’s production is 90% Pinot Noir. Also like Mercurey, the excellent limestone based soils allow the best Givry producers make wines similar in style to Côte d’Or for a fraction of the price. This is a small area but it has 38 Premier Crus and that means the significance of those climats isn’t always earned – do your research before you buy!

  • Top Premiers Crus: Cellier Aux Moines, Clos de la Barraude, Clos Salomon, Clos du Vernoy, Servoisine
  • Top producers:  Jean-Marc Joblot; François Lumpp; Vincent Lumpp; Domaine du Clos Salomon, Domaine du Jardin

File:Img1418 vendanges Côte Chalonnaise.jpg

 

Montagny: With only whites made from Chardonnay, limestone soils are vital to adding minerality in the wines. The wines are generally barrel fermented for depth and complexity. They are rich and full.

 

The challenges with Montagny: 2/3 of the production is from the local co-op in Buxy . Although they make quality wine, they have a strangle-hold on producers and there are fewer independent domaines here.  The other issue: during World War II the appellation was deemed to be ALL Premier Cru and that isn’t really right. Although some producers volunteered to limit the top sites to the best portion of their climat, many didn’t so the proportion of overpriced, improperly classified Premier Cru wine in Montagny is high.

  • Top Premiers Crus: Les Coères, Les Burnins, Les Montcuchots
  • Top producers: Stéphane Aladame, Caves du Buxy, Domaine Feuillat-Juillot

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 17, 2020
Ep 312: Filippo Bartolotta explains the Essential Nature of Vintage and Italy's Anteprima System
56:09

Filippo Bartolotta is a teacher, writer, and a wine storyteller. He has had a long career in wine writing for Decanter magazine, helping launch Vinopolis, the largest wine museum in the world, training journalists, experts, and trade on communication, sensory analysis, wine history and anthropology.

Since 2010 he has held a Road Show entitled "The Amazing Italian Wine Journey" which each year, among other places, sees him in the White House kitchens and in the halls of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He has worked with celebrities and even hosted  Barack and Michelle Obama in Tuscany. Filippo and his wife have a cooking and wine school of cooking, MaMa Florence, in Florence, and he runs and agency that provides premium travel experiences throughout Italy.

Filippo is an excellent communicator and our conversations are always full of ideas that sometimes explain and sometimes question conventional wisdom. Today he joins me to talk about the relatively new movement of Anteprima in Italy, which, as you’ll hear, is a purely Italian take on the famed en Primeur of Bordeaux (which we will also explain). 

We discuss the systems of France and Italy, En Primeur and Anteprima respectively and discuss how each country's approach to futures and vintage somewhat mirrors their cultures, and their orientations. We touch on vintage, the importance of small producers in Italy, and offer some golden nuggets on how to take advantage of good and bad vintages. 

If you've ever wondered about futures or vintage this is a can't miss show! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 11, 2020
Ep 311: Monty Waldin -- Biodynamics, Organics, Sustainability Expert AND Host of the Italian Wine Podcast
44:47

Monty Waldin is a British broadcaster, author, and winemaker with 
a special interest in organics and biodynamics. His first book,  "The Organic Wine Guide”, published in 1999, was voted Britain’s Wine Guide of the Year. He has also written award winning books “Biodynamic Wines” and “Wines of South America.”  

 

Monty has winemaking experiences in both hemispheres, has had a tv show called “Chateau Monty” (2008) in which he chronicled biodynamic winemaking in the Roussillon of France, he is a contributor to the Grape Collective, Decanter, and contributes the entries on organics, biodynamics and sustainability for the Oxford Companion to Wine. He’s also the host of the Italian Wine Podcast and a pretty awesome dude.

 

A busy guy!

In this episode Monty takes us through his journey into wine and clarifies for us the differences between organic and biodynamic wine. He chronicles some of the modern history of biodynamics in Europe and talks about why he sees it as a feasible path for many producers.

 

We then discuss:

  • The challenges for biodynamics (is it just a hippie thing or is it useful?)
  • The differences between organics, biodynamics, and natural wine and the dogma surrounding each. I ask about whether or not bio wine is a real thing or a marketing ploy for most producers
  • We discuss the hard realities of biodynamic and organic farming – the difficulties in marginal climates, the shackles of certification, and the path to better farming and away from “modern” farming

 

We wrap by discussing Monty’s AWESOME podcast, “The Italian Wine Podcast” in conjunction with VinItaly. He talks about how he got into Italian wine, biodynamics in Italy, and ultimately whether we are in a better place in wine than we were when he first started.

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to speak with the famous Monty Waldin! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 03, 2020
Ep 310: The quality revolution of Alto Adige, Italy with Karoline Walch of Elena Walch
44:02

Elena Walch is a winery with an essential role in the quality revolution of Alto Adige, Italy.

 

Alto Adige is in the northeast corner of Italy and has unlimited variety and wines that offer delicate, unique flavor profiles. Located south of the Alps, in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains (where the ice mummy was found!), vineyards here are planted on steep slopes, river valleys and some warmer plains. The vast differences in microclimates and soils in this sloping terrain make wines that have ample fruit but beautiful acidity that keep them crisp and bright.

 

In the 1980s and early 1990s a very important figure emerged in Alto Adige wine: Elena Walch. Her story is unusual – she doesn’t come from a wine family or background, nor did she plan to get into wine. But in her job as an architect, fate brought her together with the Walch family and she quickly became the head of the Alto Adige quality revolution, gaining local and international esteem for her efforts  around quality and innovation

Now, her daughters, Julia and Karoline Walch, the fifth generation are taking over and today we have Karoline to tell us this amazing story and talk about Alto Adige, the small, gorgeous region in northeast Italy that makes beautiful cool climate wines.

The estate is dedicated to terroir-driven wines.

In this show, Karoline Walch talks with me about Alto Adige and the
Elena Walch story. We discuss:

  • Traditional grapes, the land, and the unique blend of Austrian, Germanic and Italian culture that exists in Alto Adige

  • The long history of Walch family and the modern history of Elena, an architect who saw an opportunity to make a big change in the quality and style of Aldo Adige wine, and took it, despite not knowing anything about viticulture or winemaking. 

  • Karoline's and her sister, Giulia's, path to taking over Elena Walch and how they plan to move forward.

 

  • The wines! We discuss grapes from Gewürztraminer to Pinot Blanc to Pinot Grigio, and then reds like Schiava and Lagrein.
    • Karoline gives us detail on Vigna Castel Ringberg in Caldaro and Vigna Kastelaz in Tramin, as well as their Grand Cuvee white, In the Clouds 

 

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Karoline Walch and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 



 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.

  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.

  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Jan 27, 2020
Ep 309: Tranquil Vale of Hunter Valley, Australia on Boutique Wine, Bushfires, and Climate Change
47:14

Connie Paur Griffiths is winemaker and vigneron at Tranquil Vale Vineyards in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia joins to educate us about this fascinating region, discuss the bushfires that have threatened it, and to talk about the challenges facing wine and climate in Oz's future.

 

Connie shares how her parents found Tranquil Vale advertised in an Australian paper, while living in London, and took a chance on a total lifestyle change. From there, they moved their lives and two kids, including then 8 year old Connie to the hot Hunter Valley, 2.5 hours from Sydney to begin their adventure. They learned to make wine and grow grapes and have won multiple awards for their Semillon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.

Tranquil Vale makes 3,000 cases of wine and is a family-owned and run boutique producer. 

 

Connie tells us about this unlikely place, which is the oldest wine region in Australia. Hunter Valley characteristics include:

  • A subtropical climate with maritime breezes in some areas, but also with humidity that can cause rot
  • Temps that get above 40˚C/ 100˚F on a regular basis
  • Great diurnal temperature swings that allow for the three main grapes to maintain good acidity and keep alcohol levels lower
  • Gently sloping hills with lower altitude
  • 3 big subregions: Upper Hunter Valley, Broke Fordwich (we discuss how many producers will not harvest in 2020 due to smoke taint), Pokolbin, which has many of the famed wineries and is in foothills of Brokenback Range.

 

The main grapes of the area are:

  • Semillon – which miraculously, with time,  turns into something like Oak aged Chardonnay in spite of the fact that there is no oak and no malolactic fermentation ever done in the winemaking process
  • Chardonnay -- a lightly oaked, lower alcohol versio
  • Shiraz -- which in spite of sometimes punishing heat, still keeps a lighter style, lower alcohol, and a peppery note that is often "baked out" of other styles of Shiraz in regions of Australia

 

The second half of our conversation focuses on the bushfires of 2019-2020 and the havoc they have wreaked, but also on the endemic climate, infrastructure and land management issues that Australia will likely need to deal with to prevent the kind of historic fires we have seen this year. A fascinating perspective, and a thought-provoking conversation!

 

Thanks to Connie for reaching out to us and sharing her story! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

Jan 21, 2020
Ep 308: The Reality of the Australian Fires with Paracombe Wines of Adelaide Hills
40:06

There may be no better representative to speak to us about the devastation of the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia than Kathy Drogemuller of Paracombe Wines in Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

Started in 1983, Paracombe Wines started after the Ash Wednesday bushfires when Kathy and her husband Paul bought an old dairy farm and began making wine. Today it is truly a family business, making handcrafted wines.

Kathy tells us her story, what is special about the high-altitude vineyards of Adelaide Hills and the diversity of grapes that can grow there and then she gives us great perspective on the large-scale fires that destroyed much of her beautiful region.  She shares what has happened with the fires, why it has happened, and gives us a perspective on how a region copes with fire  we discuss a bit about animal life, and the importance of knowing that there are still people who are open for business.

The show is a great opportunity to discover a quality Australian region and to get an idea of what is really going on in Australian wine regions regarding the most destructive wildfires in Australian history.

Kathy gives us the true, somewhat sad picture but gives us great hope with her optimism, her assurance that the wine community is pulling together, and her genuine belief that something good will come from this tragic situation.

 

The easiest way to help is to request wines from Adelaide Hills,  Australia from your local wine shop or restaurant.

You can also donate to the following causes:

 

Special thanks to Leighton Walker in the UK for helping connect me with Kathy! 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Jan 13, 2020
Ep 307: The Grape Miniseries -- Muscat (the Granddaddy of them all)
42:15

To kick off 2020, we have the original wine grape, the one from which so many were derived: MUSCAT! In the show we discuss the three main types of Muscat and the wines and regions that you need to seek out to get a taste of this ancient, delicious, complex grape. 

As M.C. Ice requests in the middle of the show...here are the notes! 

What is Muscat? Overview

  • A grape from which derives a complicated family of grapes that includes over 200 varieties of all colors
  • It was most likely a Greek grape, brought to the south of France and Sicily by the Phoenicians
  • It's known for its floral perfume and grapey flavor. The grape is spicy with orange notes, and has relatively low acidity
  • Styles range from dry to late harvest to fortified to sparkling
  • Berries are gold, pink, or black and the variation within vines, mean flavors can vary

 

The main types of Muscat:

1. Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is the oldest grape

  • Needs a long growing season, disease prone, doesn’t like humidity
  • The most refined, classic Muscat, it is small berried, with a delicate but layered aroma
  • Also known as: Moscato Bianco, came to Italy in the 1300s
  • Common grapes derived from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains: Moscato Giallo, Aleatico (red), Mammolo (red)

2.  Muscat of Alexandria

  • Natural cross of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Axina de Tres Bias, old black table grape grown on Sardegna, Malta, Greek Islands
  • Not from Alexandria in Egypt! 
  • Mid budding, late ripening, likes heat, big bunches, big berries, great for heat. Susceptible to powdery mildew, bunch rot, bugs, good with drought
  • Less refined than Muscat à Petits Grains: sweet but not complex, less subtle – more geranium notes. Makes sticky sweet wines, rose- or orange-like or like geranium and lily of the valley
  • Also known as Zibbibo in Sicily. 
  • Related grapes:  Catarratto Bianco (Etna), Grillo (Sicily), Bombino Bianco (Sicily, Southern Italy), Schiava Grossa, Malvasia del Lazio, Cereza (Argentina), Torrontés (both clones)

3. Muscat Ottonel: 

  • Bred in Loire in 1852, earliest ripener, planted in Alsace often  paler, with less aroma than the other varieties -- which can produce a softer wine

4. Muscat of Hamburg

  • Black, table grape, low quality in Eastern Europe

 

Muscat in the Vineyard: 

  • Hard to grow: Crops erratically, low acidity, can be a tough blender
  • Pink, black, red mutations exist around the world
  • Early budding, mid ripening, susceptible to powdery mildew, botrytis, mites, small berries
  • Climate: Prefers warm Mediterranean climates – south of France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Australia
  • Soils: Different types will yield different flavors. Limestone or calcareous rock, along with sand make lighter, fresher versions.  Clays, granites, can yield richer versions. 
  • If the grape is overcropped it loses acidity and aroma and is a boring mess. 

 

Muscat by Place: 

France

  • 18,829 acres in France/7620 ha
  • Almost all Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Rhône: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (fortified)
  • Roussillon & Languedoc: Vins doux Naturels of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains in Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval, St. Jean de Minervois
    • Rivesaltes: Vin doux Naturel of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains blended with Muscat d'Alexandria in Rivesaltes
    • Clairette de Die Sparkling of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Corsica: fortified wines
  • Alsace: Muscat Ottonel and Muscat à Petits Grains. Wines are floral, fresh, grapey, and herbal with spice. Dry. 

 

Italy 

  • 32,816 acres/13280 ha – Mostly Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Piemonte: sweet, Asti Spumante (sparkling), Moscato d’Asti (semi sparkling, sweet, good dessert or cheese wine)
  • Trentino Alto Adige: Use Rosenmuskateller: variation of the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains -- rose aroma, still wine, Moscato Giallo/Goldmuskateller: orange scented dry or sweet wines
  • Valle d’Aosta: Passito style (grapes dried on mats in the sun, raisined and then pressed)
  • Montalcino:  DOC for dry, sparkling, sweet, late-harvest wines of Muscat
  • Sicily: Zibbibo/Muscat of Alexandria for dry wines, Moscato di Pantelleria – passito style from a small historic island. 

 

Spain 

  • Grown all over Spain as Moscatel –Moscatel d’Alejandria
  • Málaga: sweet speciality of the south
  • Jerez/Sherry:  Moscatel used for color and sweetness, can be made alone as a sweet, passito style wine

 

Portugal

  • Small amount used in white Port and other fortified wines
  • Setúbal makes a fortified wine from it, tasty dry wines 

 

Other Old World places: Germany, Austria, Greece

 

Australia

  • Rutherglen and Glenrowan in northeastern Victoria
  • Rutherglen Muscat: Four tier quality system -- basic, classic, grand, rare. Like figs, coffee, blackberry, chocolate, delicious, with acidity

 

South Africa

  • Vin de Constance from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains: Late harvest
    • Probably the descendents of the famed vines of  colonial days in the 1600s 
  • Worcester, Olifants River: Muscat of Alexandria/ Hanepoot for bulk, used for dry, sweet, fortified, table grapes

 

US: Central Valley for bulk white. Some Orange Muscat which is a relative of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy. 

Jan 06, 2020
Ep 306: Planeta and the story of modern Sicilian wine with Alessio Planeta
54:46

While I was in Verona at Wine2Wine, I had the chance to speak with Alessio Planeta, President at Assovini Sicilia and Owner at Planeta Winery.

For five centuries and through seventeen generations, Planeta has been active in changing and improving agriculture in Sicily. Alessio Planeta has spent his life dedicated to the study of Sicily and figuring out how to make it a significant force in world wine. With his family, Alessio now has six wineries around Sicily, and they have almost single-handedly put Sicily on the map as a quality player.

 

Planeta continues its mission to show what Sicily can do and what it’s forgotten varietals can bring to the world of wine. They are one of the big reasons we have access to excellent Sicilian wine today.

 

Here are the notes:

  • Alessio tells us about Sicily, the history of his family, and how Planeta evolved to become a significant force in the wine world, putting Sicily on the world wine map of quality
  • We discuss the quality revolution in Sicily, begun, in part by Diego Planeta, Alessio's uncle
  • Alessio tells us about the amazing conditions of Sicily  -- the diverse terrain, vast number of native grapes, the skilled workers, the excellent climate, that makes it a garden ideal for viticulture
  • We learn about how the innovative nature of the Planeta family. Alessio discusses their desire to find talent from outside the island (including Giacomo Tachis, Carlo Corino, Giampaolo Fabris and Attilio Scienza) the openness to using "international" grapes, and then the slow introduction of the indigenous wines of Sicily created a category for Nero d'Avola, Grillo, Carricante, Nerello Mascalese and others that is booming! 
  • Alessio addresses the fact that people may still underestimate Sicily and talks about the bright future of Sicilian wine

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Gaia Gaja and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy. 

 

      

Dec 18, 2019
Ep 305: Gaia Gaja on the Past and Future of Barbaresco and Piedmont, Italy
42:04

This week, one of the most famous wine producers in the world joins us -- Gaia Gaja from Gaja in Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy. We discuss the history of her famed family, why their wines are like liquid velvet, and how climate change is forcing new ways of thinking.

Her philosophy, outlook, and class show why Gaja has earned its place at the top of the wine world.

We discuss:

  • The history of the Gaja family and how they became so important in Barbaresco

  • We discuss Angelo Gaja, his philosophies and how he wound up changing the face of Italian wine by doubting everything, and always looking forward

  • Gaia gives us some insight into how Gaja does things so differently and yield such different, and amazing results 

  • We talk about Barbaresco and Barolo, the nuances of the land, and how those in Piedmont may be best suited to take on climate change. Gaia tells us a bit about Gaja's philosophy of optimism and change helps them take a different outlook on climate change and why biodiversity may be the key to helping things

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Gaia Gaja and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy. 

Dec 09, 2019
Ep 304: Hightower Cellars, Red Mountain, Washington, and an Honest Look at WA Wine
59:18

Tim and Kelly Hightower of Hightower Cellars have been making beautiful wine in Washington State (in the northwest of the US) specifically Red Mountain, for about 2.5 decades. They tell us about the evolution of Washington State wine, their path to owning a boutique winery, and then we discuss some of the reasons Washington wine can and should be so much more popular. This is a real insightful look into the challenges and opportunities of Washington State wine! 

Map Courtesy Wine for Normal People Book

Map (C) "Wine for Normal People" book

Here are some of the points we hit:

  • Kelly and Tim tell us how they each got into wine at fairly young ages, and what the early years of Washington wine were like 
  • The Hightowers talk about their drive to relocate to Red Mountain. We talk about the terroir of the area -- climate, soils, and terrain and why they are unique.
  • Tim and Kelly tell us the profile of Red Mountain wine and why it is so striking

  • We discuss the business model of many Washington producers and the disconnect between the tasting rooms of the town of Woodinville and the wineries located in the vineyards. 
  • We discuss the role of small and large wineries in Washington State 
  • Tim and Kelly tell us how the market for Washington wine has changed and grown, and how they see great things on the horizon for the state.

 

   

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

 

  1.  
Dec 02, 2019
Ep 303: Alternative Wines For Thanksgiving Pairing
35:42

We have much to be grateful for this year – Patrons, the release of the , and all of you listeners! This is our yearly TG episode. This time we take the traditional pairings and offer some alternatives. You can stick with what you know based on our recommendations or go out on a limb. Either way, we are truly grateful for you, for your tolerance of our Beastie Boys and Hobbit references and for your continued support! Thank you!

Traditional Whites:

  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewurztraminer

 

Alternative whites:

  • Off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc
  • Grüner Veltliner or Verdejo from Rueda Spain
  • Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina, or Soave from Italy
  • White Rhône blends with Roussanne, white Priorat (Spain), or pure Roussanne from a winery like Truchard in Napa or from Savoie (Chignin Bergeron)

If you want…

Rosé:

  • Go for something New World with more fruit character. The Provence styles are unpredictable so unless you have a producer you love, go New World

 

Sparkling:

  • I prefer Champagne but Crémant (which we don’t mention but is a great option), Cava or American Sparkling will work, as will Cap Classique from South Africa. I’m less of a fan of Prosecco. I’m a big fan of drinking the bubbly with food rather than enjoying it just on its own.

 

Traditional Reds:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  • Syrah
  • Beaujolais

Alternative Reds:

  • Lighter Garnacha, Bobal, or Mencîa from Spain
  • Austrian reds: St. Laurent, Zweigelt, Blaüfrankisch (as long as they are lighter and not too spicy)
  • Lighter styles of Zinfandel like those from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma (we mention Nalle and Peterson as favorites) or Primitivo (still Zin!) from Puglia
  • Pinot Noir but New World styles from Oregon, Santa Barbara, and New Zealand
  • Cabernet Franc from Virginia, New York, and Loire
  • Merlot, especially Merlot from the Right Bank of Bordeaux

 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices. They offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Nov 19, 2019
Ep 302: The Insider View of Long Island Wine with Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane Wine
01:08:45

Long Island has 3,000 acres planted with grapes and at least 60 wineries. Lieb Cellars has been around for nearly 30 years and this week Russell Hearn, winemaker for Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane Wines  (who has been there since the start), and Ami Opisso, General Manager and Long Island native, tell us about why Long Island is special, why Lieb is different, and how Bridge Lane is the king of quality wine in alternative packaging (yes, we cover this in detail!). 

After discussing all the various accents on this show (yeah, I'm from the 'Island so you'll hear me get mine back when Ami and I tawk!), we dig deep into Long Island.

  • We discuss the history of the region, beginning in the 1970s

  • Russell tells us how bodies of water, well draining soil, and sun exposure create a great environment for grapes

  • We discuss the weather and climate. Long Island is not known for stable, easy climate. With humidity, frost, and sometimes ridiculous quantities of rain, it seems like it couldn't work -- Russell gives us insight into drainage, why it is so important here, and Ami tells us about the true meaning of Sustainability on Long Island, where everything you spray goes directly into your drinking water.

  • Long Island has received some bad press regarding the local government's inability to provide a good environment for wineries. Ami annd Russell tell us the fascinating, insider deal on all of that. 

We move on to wine! We talk about...

  • The top reds and top whites of Long Island and what makes them special

  • We talk about why Long Island lacks some of the recognition other emerging East Coast regions often get 

  • Russell talks about the history of Lieb Cellars , since he's been the winemaker since its inception. He tells us why Pinot Blanc is so special to the property

  • Ami discusses Bridge Lane and how the idea to become the first winery on Long Island to produce wine in several alternative formats, including bottles, boxes, kegs and cans came about

  • Russell and Ami tell us, in detail, about different formats (box, can, keg) and the extensive research they did to ensure that neither corrosion from acid nor corruption of flavor would occur in things other than glass bottles. 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices. They offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

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To start your free wedding website or registry on Zola, go to www.ZOLA.com/wine

 

Nov 13, 2019
Ep 301: Sheldrake Point Winery -- Refreshing Candor (and wine) in the Finger Lakes
39:27

Sheldrake Point Winery in the Finger Lakes began in 1997. For most of that time, Dave Wieman, vineyard manager, and Dave Breeden, winemaker, have been with the winery. They dish on what it's really like it is to make wine in this ever-changing, awesome region.

Here are the show notes:

  • After our weekly plug of the Wine For Normal People Book (if you like the podcast, you will love the book and it's a perfect companion guide to the show!) we break the news that the audio got messed up. Aliens took over the audio for the first quarter of the recording and so M.C. Ice and I step in to do the re-cap!
    • We talk about the history of Sheldrake Point Winery, it's unique location, the importance of Cornell University, and warn you of the hilarity that ensues in this show

  • The Daves talk about how challenging it can be to manage a vineyard in the Finger Lakes and how moisture, drainage, slope, and microclimate make all the difference in making great wine in the Finger Lakes. Dave Wieman talks about whether he ever thinks about what it would be like to make wine in Napa, where things aren't quite so hard. 

 

  • We discuss the viability of sustainable agriculture in the Finger
    Lakes and what that looks like in a climate with humidity and rain

 

  • Dave Breeden, winemaker (and self-proclaimed "inside Dave") talks about his job as the guy whose job it is not to mess up what nature gave him! He serves all his answers straight up -- from talking about why it makes sense to use once used oak (it's better for the wine AND cheaper), to questioning why Gewurztraminer isn't more popular, to why he loves to dance the tango with Pinot Gris each year. 

 

  • We discuss the different styles of Riesling, how they are achieved and how Dave Breeden came around to liking the Gamay he works with. 

 

  • After many laughs, lots of honesty, and some stuff we just had to edit out (sorry), we talk about the bright future of the Finger Lakes and how things are only just beginning. 

Sheldrake Point will be at Underground Wine Events on 11/9/19! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Nov 05, 2019
Ep 300: A Past, Present, and Future look at Wine, for Normal People
49:45

As we always do when we hit a milestone, for episode 300 we reflect on three things we each have learned in the last 8 years.

We talk about the process of planning, writing, and publishing the book and possible future wine trends.

We thank you for all your support over the years!

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Oct 29, 2019
Ep 299: Texas Wine Country with the Wineries of Texas Fine Wine
58:04

Texas is one of the oldest winegrowing states in the US, with vines predating California by 100+ years. The first vineyard in North America was by Franciscan priests circa 1660 in Texas and the industry grew throughout the 1800s. Texas is important in another way, as horticulturist Thomas Munson contributed greatly to finding the solution to  the phylloxera epidemic, which effectively saved the European wine industry from total ruin. After Prohibition decimated the industry in the 1920s, Texas jump started it's wine industry in the 1970s and today it's roaring back. Texas has 400 producers and it is growing and growing.

 

Jennifer McInnis, General Manager of Bending Branch and Ron Yates, the owner and President of Spicewood Vineyards, are part of a marketing consortium representing five of Texas’ most distinguished wineries: Bending Branch WineryBrennan VineyardsDuchman Family WineryPedernales Cellars and Spicewood Vineyards. Member wineries produce wines from Texas grapes, that try to express the terroir of Texas Hill County and the Texas High Plains.

             

Here are the show notes:

We start off talking about Texas, an area I admittedly (used to) know very little about. We cover:

  1. The breadth and depth of areas. Specifically What are the
    different areas/are there discreet AVAs? Where are they vis a vis the cities? We talk specifically about Texas Hill Country and the High Plains, which create premium wine in the state.
  2. We discuss the role of elevation and the similarities to other growing regions around the world (specifically the Duero in Spain, which Texas High Plains resembles).
  3. We talk extensively about climate – how it’s extremely erratic and how growing conditions here are unlike anywhere else with extreme heat, thunderstorms, hail, and unpredictable weather events that change each vintage and make winemaking a true challenge.
  4. We talk about the grapes that grow here and how over the last 5-10 years, grapes like Tannat, Tempranillo, and southern Italian varietals that are heat tolerant have thrived. We talk about why many growers in the past bought grapes from Washington State or California.
  5. We discuss some of the challenges that Texas has faced with the anti-alcohol lobby and how that has been overcome.

 

Then we discuss the 5 wineries of Texas Fine Wine and their goals of making excellent wine that is known outside of just Texas. Jennifer discusses Bending Branch(if you’re curious, here’s info on cryomaceration (extreme version of cold maceration)and flash détente, that she references!) Ron talks about Spicewoodand then we discuss Duchman,Brennan, and Pedernalesand their styles.  

 

We wrap by talking about the bright future of Texas wine!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Oct 21, 2019
Ep 298: The Transformation of Loudoun County, Virginia -- The Vineyards at Lost Creek
47:12

Loudoun County, Virginia is in close proximity to Washington, D.C. -- the farthest vineyards are just over an hour's drive away. But the area has been known more for  big, beautiful farms that are good for weddings rather than as a premier wine region of Virginia. Today, this is changing and Lost Creek is part of that change.

About 7 years ago Aimee and Todd Henkle of Lost Creek decided to buy a beautiful property that made mainly sweet wines and change it into a place with elegant, dry reds and whites. Aimee tells her story and that of a region maturing each year. 

Here are the show notes: 

  • Aimee is the Chair of the Loudoun County Wineries Association, so I ask her to tell us about Loudoun County. We review: 
    • Where is Loudoun County?
    • How many wineries there are, the terroir types, and what they specialize in
    • We discuss the controversial question of wineries growing grapes v. buying them from the west coast, a challenge that has plagued the legitimacy of Loudoun for years, and how things are changing
  • Aimee tells us how she got into wine from her background in electrical engineering
  • We learn about how the Vineyard at Lost Creek transitioned from sweet wine to dry wine, and how the quality has been improved greatly through vineyard practices
  • We talk about sustainable and organic viticulture and the
    challenges of farming in this unique mountain area
  • Aimee tells us about their elegant Chardonnay, Merlot and Cab Franc based blends, and why Tannat is a rising start
  • Aimee tells us what she sees for the future of Loudoun County

Lost Creek will be at the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19! Get your tickets before we sell out!.

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Oct 15, 2019
Ep 297: Anthony Road Wine Company -- a Legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York
01:10:03

Anthony Road Wine Company is a legend in the Finger Lakes Region of
New York. It’s one of the pioneering wineries of the area, and it makes wines that reflect the soils and climate of the Finger Lakes. Their wines are made from grapes grown in vineyards owned or managed by the Martini Family and carefully selected by Peter Becraft, the head winemaker. Anthony Road is a family run, family owned, and family operated winery that makes outstanding Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, blends, and a variety of reds and rose, as well as some skin contact wines.

 
  

This week I speak with Peter Becraft, a man of many talents. He started out his career as a Fine Arts Masters student, working as a casting director for a famed fashion photographer in Manhattan. As with many of our generation, Peter found himself at a crossroad after September 11, 2001. He realized he needed to do something more fulfilling with his life. Previously finding more common ground and excitement in the folks his pastry chef wife Cary hung out with, he pursued a wine shop job in lower Manhattan and immersed himself in the world of wine. Today, he is the head winemaker at the iconic Anthony Road Wine Company in the Finger Lakes on Seneca Lake.

 

 Here are the show notes: 

  • Peter tells us how John and Ann Martini moved from Baltimore in 1973 and set up their farm. He gives us a great lesson on the history of Finger Lakes – what it was like when the Martinis came, and how things have evolved over the last 45 years.

 

  • We learn about the role of hybrid grapes and why they are different from and similar to the grapes we know and love (vitis vinifera)

 

  • Peter tells us about the climate and the differences between the Martini Family Vineyard and the Nutt Road Vineyard and why microclimate is so essential to winemaking In the Finger Lakes. Peter gets into really nerdy detail, including glacial movement, silt-loam soils, and how the depth and width of Seneca Lake influences the vineyards

 

  • Peter then shares his incredible journey from sculptor to winemaker. He tells us how he went from student in Virginia to fine arts Masters student in New York City to winemaker at one of the premier wineries in New York

 

  • Peter tells us how he learned winemaking, the importance of mentorship from former head winemaker Johannes Reinhardt and how he approaches winemaking

 

  • We discuss the variety of wines in Anthony Road’s portfolioRiesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Vignoles (a hybrid), Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, Merlot

 

  • We wrap with Peter’s view on what makes the Finger Lakes so special – its unity, vision, and collegiality

 

Peter and Anthony Road will be at the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19!

 

You can meet Peter and try his wines at the Underground Wine Event in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2019! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Oct 08, 2019
Ep 296: Boundary Breaks of the Finger Lakes, Where Terroir Reigns Supreme
51:05

Boundary Breaks is located in the Finger Lakes in Central New York. It's the consummate cool weather growing region, where Riesling and aromatic whites reign supreme. Bruce Murray, the founder and creative force behind Boundary Breaks, tells us how he went from newspaper man, to working with Elon Musk, to running a winery so focused on terroir, they don't even have a dedicated winemaker.

 

Boundary Breaks was founded in 2007 by Bruce on the East side of Seneca Lake. It focuses on Riesling, which range in style from dry and complex to lightly sweet to a true Riesling Ice Wine. In addition to Riesling, small amounts of Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on the estate. The wines are spectacular with a purity of flavor, and excellent terroir expression. Bruce's life is fascinating and Boundary Breaks, indeed, has broken some boundaries in what can be done in the wine world! 

 

Here are the topics we discuss: 

  • Bruce tells us how his life unfolded to bring him back to the area in which he grew up. He tells me how the Donnhoff Riesling from Nahe, Germany in a Thai restaurant in Vegas changed the course of his life. 

  • We talk about the Finger Lakes, how they were formed, why they
    are so unique and why the east side of Seneca Lake produces such excellent grapes. We get extra dorky, discussing Boundary Breaks' unique drainage system and why "wet feet" are bad for grapes

 

  • We discuss Riesling and how vineyard management is so pivotal to getting pure flavor. We detail each style Boundary Breaks makes -- dry, off-dry, ice wine plus aromatic whites like Gewurztraminer.

 

  • We talk extensively about the challenges of growing reds in the climate of the Finger Lakes and how quality has been spotty over the years, but is improving by leaps and bounds.

You can meet Bruce and try his wines at the Underground Wine Event in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2019! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Oct 01, 2019
Ep 295: Sleight of Hand- Washington State's Wine Magic
01:10:58

Sleight of Hand Cellars is the fulfillment of two dreams. Jerry Solomon was a real estate attorney in San Diego who longed for a small town life and wanted wine to be part of it. Trey Busch was a Walla Walla winemaker who had insane talent but needed a partner to make his dream winery a reality.

The two created Sleight of Hand 12 years ago to create exceptional, terroir driven wines that reflect the unique land of Walla Walla and Columbia Valley. Jerry takes us on a journey of the winery, the land, and the beautiful wines they produce!

 

They will be at Underground Wine Event on November 9, 2019 – don’t miss it! www.undergroundwineevents.com/events

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Jerry tells us how he and his wife Sandy made the move from San Diego Real Estate attorney to Director of Winemaking at the coolest winery in Walla Walla
  • He talks about the wonderful friendship and partnership between him and Trey Busch, an Atlantan who became a skilled Walla Walla winemaker after working for several excellent wineries
  • We talk about the special role of music at Sleight of Hand and how the winery got its name from a Pearl Jam song

  • Jerry explains why the Columbia Valley, and Walla Walla, in particular, are so special for winemaking. We talk soil (loess, which the Walla Walla folks pronounce "luss" and basalt), sun exposure, latitude and why these wines are so different from those from California
  • We talk about the variety of Sleight of Hand wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, Syrah, and red blends and what makes each so special
    • We discuss why Syrah, in particular, is such a standout in Walla Walla ad why Milton-Freewater Rocks District is so insanely good
  • I ask Jerry if he thinks Washington gets the respect it deserves on the world wine scene and why scores work against Washington wines

  • We discuss why Sleight of Hand wants to stay small
  • We close with how Neil Patrick Harris wound up on the Conjurer label!

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

Sep 24, 2019
Ep 294: Walla Walla, Washington's Fathers of the Vine -- Eric McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars
42:44

Eric McKibben grew up in Walla Walla, where his dad, Norm, is a founding father of the most important side of Walla Walla – the vineyard side. Norm is known to have helped grow the Walla Walla industry from a few dozen acres in 1989 to 2800 today, around the idea of impeccable quality in the vineyard.

The business is truly a family business. Norm is still involved but Eric is a partner. Eric worked for 11 years in Seattle in the telecom industry, earned an MBA and then returned to Walla Walla in 2003, where he is an active partner at Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery. In 2004, he assumed the duty of General Manager at Amavi Cellars.

He also taught me pretty much everything I know about Walla Walla and is one of the best advocates for the region there is! If you get a chance to try these wines, you should do it -- they are pure Walla Walla and purely excellent! 

Here are the show notes:

 

  • Eric tells us about the Missoula Floods and why Walla Walla is such a unique growing region, unlike any other in the world. If you want to see a cool PBS documentary on the Missoula Floods, here it is

 

  • We learn about the early days of Walla Walla -- what was here, how grapes supplanted apples, and who the early players were and what they accomplished. We talk about Jean-Francois Pellet, winemaker and partner for both Pepper Bridge and Amavi, and why he was such a believer in this region when he came from Heitz in Napa for a job interview with Amavi and Pepper Bridge. 

 

  • We discuss the "bowl" valley that is Walla Walla, the soil types and and the styles that different parts of Walla Walla yield. We do a bit of compare and contrast on Napa v Walla Walla styles

 

 

  • Then we spend time dorking out about the flavors that you'll find in Walla Walla -- Syrahs that taste plush, some that taste like licking rocks. Cabernet that expresses terroir without being too full or rich. Semillon that has beautiful acidity. All of these things and how they are achieved. 


 

  • Finally we dip into the thorny question of why so
    many wineries are based in Walla Walla that don't make any wines from Walla Walla fruit only (they blend it with things from other part of Columbia Valley) and what that means for the AVA from a marketing and reputational standpoint. 

 

Amavi and Pepper Bridge will be at this year's Underground Wine Event in Washington DC. For tickets, go to www.undergroundwineevents.com 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

Sep 16, 2019
Ep 293: Afton Mountain Vineyards Proves Why Virginia Wine is So Unique
50:43

Virginia, on the east coast of the United States, has much history with grape growing, but not all of it was good. Today, however, exciting producers have mastered their microclimates and are making some of the freshest, most nuanced, terroir-driven wines in the United States.

 

This week I sit down with Elizabeth Smith of one of the top wineries in this lovely state, Afton Mountain Vineyards. We discuss everything from Virginia history with grape growing, to terroir obsession, to the European flare of the region, and why the wines are so darn good.  If you don't know much about VA or you're an obsessive this podcast will be equally fascinating! 

 

Elizabeth and Tony Smith both grew up in Charlottesville and had lifelong ties the Blue Ridge Mountains. After working and raising a family in coastal VA, and even trying their hands at grape growing there (not quite the right terroir!), they decided to move back to their hometown for their second act – winegrowing and making. They bought Afton Mountain Vineyards in 2009 and in this show, Elizabeth shares their story and how they came to make some of the best wine in Virginia.

 

  • Elizabeth shares her background and how she went from investment management to property management to winery management (and rocked them all!)

 

  • Elizabeth gives us a true education on the Monticello appellation – what matters to quality wine, what is challenging in growing grapes here, and why she and Tony selected the most westerly site in the Monticello AVA to make their elegant wines

 

  • We dork out on microclimates, what makes Virginia so unique, and why elevation, and extremely attentive (obsessive) vineyard management is the only way to make great wine in Virginia and why sustainable viticulture is better than organic in a dicey climate like that in the Monticello area.

 

  • Elizabeth answers the question: Why does Damien Blanchon, their French winemaker, and so many other French winemakers find themselves in Virginia, and decide to stay (hint: challenge without restriction!)

 

  • We talk about the varietals that do well for Afton Mountain (Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Albariño for the whites, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Tannat, and Sangiovese for the reds) and the flavors they yield from this land. We have an interesting side bar about how Petit Verdot can really suck if not handled well!

 

  • We wrap with Elizabeth talking about how far Virginia wine has come in the last 10 years and a BIG teaser on a project Afton Mountain is starting this fall!

 

Find out more about Elizabeth and her wines at www.aftonmountainvineyards.com and come to the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19 in Washington D.C. to meet her and taste her beautiful wines!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Coravin  

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices. They offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

 

Zola

Zola, the wedding company that will do anything for love, is reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience to make the happiest moment in couples' lives even happier. From engagement to wedding and decorating your first home, Zola is there, combining compassionate customer service with modern tools and technology. All in the service of love.

To start your free wedding website or registry on Zola, go to www.ZOLA.com/wine

 

Sep 09, 2019
Ep 292: The Secret, Stunning Wine of Swartland, South Africa
43:20

Just 40 miles/65 km north of Cape Town lies a large area that makes the most exciting, sought after wines in South Africa. Swartland (Dutch for 'black land') is full of young, passionate winemakers making wines that respect the hot, dry land from which they derive and are able to create wines of such depth, flavor, and nuance that it’s hard to believe so few know about them. In this show, we tell you about the Syrah, Rhône and Mediterranean varietals, the Chenin Blanc and other stunning white blends coming from this area and why you need to seek it out ASAP!

 

Overview of the region…

  • Swartland was oncea rural backwater, better known for wheat fields than vineyards
  • Vineyards traditionally grew where wheat couldn’t -- on the northern side of Paardeberge Mountains in the south, the plains of Piketberg in the north, and the smaller Ward of Riebeekberg and Kasteelberg Mountains in the east
  • Lots of old vines on slopes where nothing else grows, hand harvested
  • The climate ishot and dry with very low summer rainfall but with consistent afternoon and evening breezes off the Atlantic Ocean. Growers have less concern about fungus and other diseases. They use the ecosystem to keep the vineyards healthy with integrated pest management, bush training of vines, and dry farming

 

We dork out on plate tectonics!

  • Swartland has ancient geology. The terroirresulted from a combination of tectonic collisions, ancient volcanic activity and continental separation
  • The soils are the oldest in the world and are a mix of shale, arenite sandstone and granite, schist based terroirs. Malmesbury shale on Kasteelberg Mtn is the dominant soil.
    • vertical layering structure caused by tectonic shifts. Water drains away and vines dig deeper for liquid nourishment

 

Grapes/Winemaking

  • We talk about the grapes and terroir driven wines of the region
    • Red grapes: Syrah/Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Cinsaut, Tinta Barocca, Pinotage
    • White grapes:Chenin blanc, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, Palomino, Sémillon, Muscat d’Alexandria, Muscat d’Frontignan, Colombard and Verdelho.
    • Viticulture:A lot of natural, noninvasive methods of farming
    • Winemaking:larger barrels that impart less flavor, less racking and stirring to keep earthy flavors, unfiltered, unfined wines – low input wines
  • The Ward of Riebeekbergnear the towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West has vineyards on eastern slopes of the Kasteelberg Mountain make big reds of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay that are complex

  

We talk about South African and Swartland Wine history

  • We discuss how South Africa lies somewhere between the Old World and New World styles.
  • We discuss the early history in the 1660s, with the arrival of the French Huguenots who planted vineyards.
  • We tell the story of how, in late 1990s, Charles Back of Goats do Roam fame went to Swartland to source grapes and wound up transforming the area by  buying land and hiring Eben Sadie to run his “Spice Route” wines in 1998.
  • We discuss the modern history of the region and why it takes a special person to make wine in conditions withlow rainfall, un-irrigated vines and paltry yields.

  

Producers and the Swartland revolution

  

Top producers

  • AA Badenhorst: AA Badenhorst Family White,  AA Badenhorst Family Red are flagships; Secateurs produced from purchased fruit
  • Lammershoek:Traditional producer
  • Testalonga:“naked” style, funky wines
  • Lammershoek:Libero No. 5
  • Mullineux: Syrahs and white blends; entry level Kloof Street
  • Porseleinberg 
  • Sadie Family: Columella – Syrah-based blend (famous), Palladius – rich style white; cheaper, co-owned Sequillo range

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

Sep 05, 2019
Ep 291: Vinho Verde (has so much more to it than you know!)
33:04

If you think Vinho Verde (pronounced veeng-yo vaird) is just a fizzy summer sipper, we're about to open up a new world for you in this show. You CAN get the run of the mill stuff but with multiple grapes, regions, and producer styles, if you dig deeper this wine has way more to it than you think!

 

Overview

  • Vinho Verde is not a grape variety, it is a DOC (wine area)
  • It literally translates to  'green wine' but means young wine – wine released 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested
  • This is one of Portugal’s largest regions:
    • 21,000 ha/51,000 acres of vineyards are planted -- 9% of the total in Portugal
    • 19,000 growers – like Champagne, 600 bottlers
    • 85 million liters of wine each year
  • 86% of the wine from Vinho Verde is white

 

What wine is here? 

  • Red, white, rosé, or sparkling. Can be late harvest OR brandy!
  • If labeled with grape, subregion or quality level (Escolha, Grande Escolha, Superior, Colheita Selectionada
  • Top white grapes: Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Batoca, Loureiro, and Trajadura
  • Top red grapes: Amaral, AzalbTinto, Borraçal, Brancelho, Espadeiro, Padeiro, Pedral, Rabo de Ovelha and Vinhão

Winemaking:

  • The wine was fizzy because malolactic fermentation took place in the bottle as it sat on the shelf! Today, carbonation is added to finished wine to add sparkle

Wine style:

  • Light and fresh whites: high natural acidity, with fruity and floral aromas that depend on the grape variety
  • Have slight sparkle with low alcohol

 

History

  • Vinho Verde produced wine for over 2,000 years, one of the oldest regions in Portugal
  • Celts and Romas came, then Visigoths and Moors
  • During middle Ages: Vinho Verde may have been exported in the 12th century, to England, Germany, and Flanders – especially from top regions of Monção and Melgaço and Ribeira de Lima
  • Maize arrived in the 16th century alog with regulations to maximise production of itNew regulations banished vines to the field margins, where they grew up high, forcing the vignerons to pick them from tall ladders
    • Today most of Vinho Verde Region is now using modern methods, which give larger and better yield.
  • EU in 1986 improved technology – more capital, opened up the markets 

 

Location/Land:

  • Vinho Verde is Portugal’s northernmost wine producing region, above 40° latitude 
  • Series of granite-based plateaus within the valleys of the Minho, Ave, Cávado, and Lima rivers 
  • Most of the Vinho Verde region is at or near sea level -- highest elevation at 2,300 feet

Climate:

  • Temps go between 46°F (8°C) in winter and 68°F (20°C) in the summer – green landscape, temperate climate
    • Cooler coastal regions like Lima, Cávado and Ave -- more marine influence with cooler average temperatures and higher rainfall
    • inland subregions - Baião and Basto are both warmer
  • Annual rainfall is high – 47+ inches (1200 mm) in the winter and spring months

 

Subregions: 9, can be on the label with the name Vinho Verde


Monção e Melgaço: Best region, but least typical Vinho Verde

  • Inland DOP subregion, along the hillsides of the Minho River’s south bank
  • White: Alvarinho is best. Fresh but fuller than Rias Baixas, occasionally with some oak
  • Reds: Pedral, Alvarelhão 

 

Lima: 

  • Highest levels of rainfall.
  • Granitic soils and a small area with shale-based soil.
  • White: Loureiro grape: citrus fruits, rose notes, can be full like Alvarinho 
    • Use whites Arinto and Trajadura
  • Red: Vinhão and Borraçal – crunchy, crisp fruity aroma

 

3 Similar regions: Cávado, Ave, Sousa -- Mild

  • Sea winds, irregular topography, low altitude, mild climate,
  • Whites: Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura with moderate acidity, citrus fruits and ripe apple and pears.
  • Reds: Vinhão and Borraçal grapes (not in Ave but in Cávado and Sousa)
    • Sousa: Espadeiro is often used to make rosé wines.

 

Basto: inland – HOT with high rainfall

  • High altitude, cold, wet winter, balls hot summer
  • White:  Azal is lemony with green apple notes
  • Reds: Espadeiro, Rabo-de-Anho 

Amarante: Inland

  • White: Azal, Avesso -- higher alcohol, more body because of heat
  • Red: Amarante sub-region is famous for its red wines: especially Vinhão variety

 

Paiva: 

  • Red: Vinhão gets great maturity and produce some of the most sought-after red wines

 

Baião: Inland/continental

  • On the border of Douro demarcated region, longer season 
  • Whites: Azal and Avesso (best ones from Avesso, creamy, fruity, with acidity)
  • Red:  Amaral 

 

Food Pairing:

  • Salads, Asian cuisine, bacalao (cod) and other seafood, in cream sauce or breaded; pork and potato dishes

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

Aug 26, 2019
Ep 290: Theresa Breuer of Georg Breuer Represents Rheingau, Riesling, and the New Face of German Wine
58:24

If you had no interest in Riesling or in Rheingau previously, this show will change your mind completely and make you jump out of your seat to try Georg Breuer's exquisite wines.

Theresa Breuer is a young woman who found herself (sadly, earlier
than she expected) at the helm of one of the most respected, highest quality Riesling producers in the Rheingau region of Germany.  I had the pleasure of spending the day with her a few years back and she is brilliant, poised, kind and a genius vigneron and cellar master, but more than anything, at 30-something, she is one of the best fresh faces and ambassadors for what Rheingau wine is, was, and should be. 

This show should give you a perspective on why Rheingau is so special and make you understand why a dork like me loves this place so much! 

Here are the show notes: 

HISTORY

  • Theresa shares Weingut Georg Breuer's nearly 140 years in wine -- from her great grandfather Peter's involvement in the business side of wine, to her grandfather after whom the Weingut is named, to her dad, Bernhard, and then to her.  
  • We discuss Bernhard Breuer's obsession with quality, bringing the reputation of Rheingau back from a less than stellar period, and her involvement in the business. 
  • Theresa shares her (beautiful) philosophies about wine and why it means so much to her.

Rheingau Education!

  • I have rarely found anyone who can educate on a region as well and succinctly as Theresa Breuer and we are lucky to have her explain stuff like: 
    • Where is Rheingau and what makes it so unique for wine?
    • The parallels with Burgundy in terms of Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village, Regional sites and why it is so easy in Rheingau
    • Why Riesling is so dominant in Rheingau and why it does so well here (hint: reflection from the river, slate/quartzite soils, slopes!)
    • How climate change has affected the region, what a hot year like 2019 means for the wine, and what really matters to vintage
    • How oak is used in Rheingau (and it is used, a LOT!)

Theresa gives us the deep dive into site specific info. It's fascinating: 

  • Theresa shares detailed and excellent information about George Breuer's sites and the why and how behind the differences in the wines. We discuss their beautiful Grand Cru sites in Rüdesheim – Berg Schlossberg, Berg Roseneck and Berg Rottland and their wholly owned site, Nonnenberg in Rauenthal (in the eastern part of Rheingau
  • Theresa talks about her commitment to organic viticulture and her vision for the wines -- to let the vineyard produce the best wines and to let the Riesling show its home in the glass! 
  • We talk about what makes Theresa's wines elegant and age worthy.
  • We discuss the generational shift in Rheingau and what it does and will mean for wine in the future.

Theresa unveils big news: Weingut Georg Breuer bought some land in the (very different, Mittelrhein-type) wine area of Lorch, to the west of their Grand Cru vineyards. They will be learning more about the sites, and making wine from them soon! 

Check out the videos on my YouTube Channel -- you will love Theresa even more! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

Aug 19, 2019
Ep 289: Orange (Skin Contact) Wines
44:00

We tackle a wine style that is adored in certain hip, wine "in-crowd" circles: "orange" wine, which is actually white wine made like a red -- there is long contact with the skins and seeds that give the wine a darker, orange-ish color, and VERY different flavors.

M.C. Ice and I are not big fans, but we do our best to explain the phenomenon of these whites made with skin contact.

 

Here are the show notes:  

  • You know it's time to cover a topic when, in Europe, the supermarket chain Aldi sells a bottle of skin-contact wine for less than $8 US! 

 

  • WHAT THE HECK IS ORANGE WINE??
    • First and most importantly, it's not from oranges but from grapes! 
    • Made exactly like a red but with longer maceration (the time during winemakig when the grape skins and seeds stay in contact with the juice) 
    • Reds with skin contact are red wines, reds with little contact are rosés; whites with skin contact are “orange”, without contact they are whites
      • Rosés usually undergo less than 12 hours macerating on their skins before the juice is pressed off 
      • Orange wine is the opposite of Rosé
    • Can make skin-contact wine from any grape – length of time with the skins will matter to flavor and the longer the time the more likely the wine is to mask terroir
    • Length of time varies, but maceration is LONG – days, weeks, months
  • Not all are orange so it’s better to call them “skin-contact wines.”

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MACERATING WHITE JUICE WITH SKINS?

  • The wine takes on a darker colored/orange-ish white color, as well as phenols, pigment. 
  • Aromas: Bolder and more intense same grapes vinified as traditional white – like rose v red
  • Flavors: Nutty, oxidized flavor, very sour with a cider note. Can be bold, nutty, like old apples, sourdough bread

  • Textures: Dry, tannic, intense (not very pleasurable sometimes)

 

Different styles:

  • Lightest ones, are acidic, aromatic wines, with fresh apricot, herbs
  • Medium ones – slight oxidation, some acetone notes, old apple
  • Then full-bodied, boldly tannic, and often smoky, nutty, lots of VA, off notes

 

Regions: 

  • The Republic of Georgia: Qvervi—underground vessels sealed with beeswax or oil soaked clothes. The practice of skin contact whites likely originated here 6,000 or more years ago (the practice still goes on today, although the Greeks and Romans quickly realized the best wines were those from free-run juice/whites not macerated, which is our "traditional" style today). Rkatsiteli is the main grape
  • Listen to the Georgia Podcast!

 

  • Italy: Most prominent in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, often called  ramato “copper-colored” wines from Pinot Grigio but Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano are often used. 
    • Fruili producers who re-started the orange wine movement: Radikon, Gravner
    • Sicilian producers: Cos, I Vigneri 

 

 

  • United States
    • Long Island: Channing Daughters, Shinn Estate
    • California: Some Sonoma

 

  • Others: Australia – Sauvignon Blanc, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France

 

Food Pairing: Skin Contact wine is versatile with food pairing but it depends on the weight and the treatment of the wine (length of maceration, barrel v. stainless steel, etc). 

  • Serving temps – 50 – 55˚ warmer side

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

 

Aug 13, 2019
Ep 288: Martinborough, NZ and the Glory of Wellington Wine Country with Simone Madden-Grey
46:03

No, it's not a typo: Martinborough is a quality enclave in the larger Wellington Wine Country of New Zealand, which we discuss in depth in this episode. Simone Madden-Grey returns to tell us about the stunning Pinot Noir, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, up and coming Syrah, and other excellent Wellington wines that must be on your radar!

 

Here are the show notes:

Wellington Wine Country Overview

  • In 2016 three wine regions of the Wairarapa Valley in the lower north island formally launched Wellington Wine Country: Masterton, Gladstone, and Martinborough
  • The area is small -- just 3% of national plantings and 1% of national production, but represents 10% of producers

 

Location

  • The southern part of New Zealand's North Island
  • 35 miles (55km) north-east of Wellington (1 hr drive), New Zealand's capital city, in a wide river valley between Rimutaka mountain range and eastern Wairarapa hills

 Climate/Terroir

  • Semi-maritime, dry climate – rain shadow of the Tararua Ranges with blustery winds
  • Cool spring and autumn seasons, hot summer days with cool nights - long growing season
  • Martinborough Terrace: a crescent shaped area on the edge of a river terrace formed by the Ruamahunga and Huangarua rivers with gravel soils that drain well and stress the vines (in a good way)
  • Mountain ranges and hills
    • Remutaka and Tararua Ranges to the west protect from winds off Tasman Sea
    • Aorangi Ranges, western mountain ranges protect area from cold southerly winds coming in off the Cook Strait and together with the western moutnain ranges, also funnel cool breezes up from the Cook Strait

Soil

  • River terraces in Martinborough with pockets of clay and quartz-threaded greywacke (type of coloured sedimentary sandstone formed by river deposits) and volcanic basalt.
    • Alluvial soils can be up to 15m deep in Martinborough

Climate

  • Semi-maritime climate with high sunshine hours, cool Springs and Autumns, warm Summers
  • Warm, low rainfall, relatively long, dry growing season, low humidity and low disease pressure
  • Diurnal variation: Summer temps during the day 30˚C (86˚F) to 10˚C (50˚F) at night
  • Frost is an issue, very windy at times throughout the year, particularly in spring

 

Sub Regions: North to south

  • Masterton: Largest town in Wairarapa,first area grapes were planted in the region. Known for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir

 

  • Gladstone: Just south of Masterton, free-draining river terraces - Shallower terraces than of Martinborough and nearby. Clay pockets – planted Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc with high aromatics.

 

  • Martinborough – about 30 wineries: Colonial village is surrounded by small vineyards, family-owned producers – highly respected boutique wineries. Lowest rainfall of any area in the North Island and reliably cool climate for Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling and other aromatic whites.

 

  • Te Muna: Southeast of the township with stonier alluvial gravel soils, windier growing conditions and a slightly cooler climate than Martinborough. Escarpment and Craggy Range are here.

Wine Style: Red, white, sparkling (usually Methode Traditionnelle), rosé and sweet wines are all produced in the region

  • Pinot Noir: Thicker skins and smaller yields contribute an aromatic, savory, dark fruited profile with good acidity and potential for age.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: leading white grape variety, very important for export. More herbaceous and citrus driven, with mineral notes -- less of the big fruit style of Marlborough
  • Pinot Gris: Trying to coax a spicier, more complex style with pear and white stone fruit characters 
  • Chardonnay: For the last decade growers pick earlier to attain lower alcohol, more natural acidity -- lighter less tropical style.  Varying degrees of new oak and use of MLF, lees contact and stirring, but the goal is elegance
  • Riesling: Good acidity, very lemon-lime in flavor
  • Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Syrah and some Bordeaux varieties

The producer list!

  • High-profile small producers: Ata Rangi, Margrain, Dry River, Escarpment, Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyard
  • Paddy Borthwick in Gladstone
  • Larger but still good producers: Palliser, Craggy Range
  • Second labels:
    • Martinborough Vineyard’s "Te Tera"  (UK, NZ, Oz only)
    • Palliser "Pencarrow" (UK, NZ, Oz only)
    • Escarpment "The Edge" (UK, NZ, Oz only)

 

_________________________________________ 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

Aug 09, 2019
Bonus Sponsored Ep: Greg Lambrecht, Inventor of Coravin
37:24

 This episode is sponsored by Coravin, the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months or even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too.

Although sponsored by Coravin, this is the same as any other interview show! Don't miss it!

Greg Lambrecht is the inventor, founder and board member of Coravin™ along with a number of other medical device companies. Greg holds a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds numerous patents in the fields of gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, and orthopedics. 


Greg is one of those great minds you come across every now and then -- creative, structured, smart, unhindered by things that seem impossible. You'll love learning about Coravin and how he made an enormous difference in the wine industry by taking off the guardrails of staid industry thinking and solved a problem wine drinkers the world around grapple with -- sometimes you just want one darn glass without opening a bottle! 

 Here are some of the topics we cover:  

  1. We talk about how a guy like Greg was as a child, and what it really means to be "mission-driven"

 

  1. Greg tells us about his journey into wine and how, while the rest of the dads of the world just drank too much or drank skunky wine while their wives were pregnant, he got busy inventing Coravin!
  2. Greg tells us all about the development process and some awesome stories about stuff that happened as he was developing today's Coravin
  3. Greg and I talk about the weird quirks of the wine industry and how being outside of it helped inspire his enormous creativity
  4. We get geeky on the details of how Coravin works. Greg sets me straight on Argon gas and why it doesn't work when I spray the stuff in the bottle but DOES work in Coravin.
  5. We talk about the next frontier for Coravin: screwcaps and sparkling! 

 

For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more.

Aug 07, 2019
Ep 287: The Grape Miniseries -- Chenin Blanc
59:18

In this episode of the Grape Miniseries, we discuss Pineau de la Loire, a.k.a, Chenin Blanc! This white grape is one of the most versatile in terms of wine styles it can make – from floral sparkling, to stunning dry and off dry versions to unctuous dessert wines. Chenin is underrated, not always treated with regard, but it has a pedigree and a class that can’t be doubted. After hearing about all it has to offer, you’ll want to run out and get a bottle ASAP!

 

Here are the show notes:

What Is Chenin Blanc?

  • It’s a high acid, white grape that makes everything from sparkling to dessert wines. When it’s grown poorly, it’s a boring neutral grape that’s used for its acidity but when grown in the right places, it can create a wine with great depth, character
  • DNA: Chenin is related to Jura’s Savagnin – parent + unknown grape
  • French grape scientist – Pierre Galet – Chenin Blanc started in Anjou in the 9thc, moved to Touraine by the 15thc
  • 1520 – 1535 -- Grapes planted at Mount Chenin in Touraine by the Lord of Chateaux de Chenonceau and the Abbot of Cormery

 

Flavors of Chenin

  • Chenin can express terroir, winemaker ideas, vintage but at its core it has a floral, mineral, honey note. Its nuances are determined by terroir, soil type and style
  • With botrytis the wine is like peaches, honey, apricots, marzipan, quince
  • Dry or off-dry from Loire: apple, chalk that turn into honey and quince – off dry can age
  • New World, especially South Africa: tropical fruit notes, good acidity

 

Viticulture:

  • Need ripeness and good control over its vigor to get depth and complexity
  • New clonal research is being done to delay budding because the grape is prone to spring frost, increase sugar development
  • Vintage variation: growers decide on a day by day basis what style and dryness of Chenin blanc they could make

 

Winemaking

  • New World: Can be blended or do well alone, some skin contact to get different aroma, soften with malolactic, lees contact, tropical notes bc of cooler temps of fermentation
  • Old World – fermentation temps – higher (60-68˚f. 16-20˚c) so they won’t get those tropical fruit flavors that come out with cooler temps (50˚/10˚C) – no new oak/toastiness
  • Loire:Made like German white wines – low, slow fermentations in large old oak or stainless steel, no malolactic fermentation, no barriques

 

Wine regions

Loire, France 

  • Sweet appellations:Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, Vouvray
  • Dry:Saviennières (Nicolas Joly) – concentration, flavor, longevity, climate change has made dry wine possible in most areas – although some is off-dry, tryig to become a Grand Cru of the Loire
  • Range of sweetness levels, from dry to semi-sweet to sweet: Anjou, Crémant de Loire, Coteaux de l'Aubance, Jasnières, Montlouis, Saumur, and Vouvray
  • Varied:Saumur, Vouvray, Anjou –Vouvray
  • Moelleux wines:Sweet but can be artificially sweetened, so you need a good producer – Vouvray and Quarts de Chaume the best
  • Demi sec: great acidity, with a touch of sugar sometimes seem dry b/c of the acidity

Languedoc: Crémant de Limoux, Chenin must account for at least 20% and up to 40% of the blend with Mauzac, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

 

South Africa

  • Most in Western Cape: Stellebosch, Paarl and then Swartland, Olifants River
  • Good acidity in a hot climate
  • Swartland Top Producers: Badenhorst, Mullineux, Eben Sadie (blends
  • Stellebosch Top Producers: Ken Forrester, De Morgenzon

 

United States

  • California: Used it for jug wine because it had acidity, irrigated to the hilt – high yields, 4x as high as in Loire
    • Clarksburg AVA plus, Chappellet in Napa, Leo Steen in Sonoma/Santa Ynez, Foxen in Santa Barbara
  • Washington: Yakima
  • Texas High Plains (a few hundred)
  • Long Island, New York: Paumanok

 

Other wine regions: Australia,New Zealand, Argentina blended with Chardonnay, Mexico and Canada, and India and Thailand grow it too!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Coravin  

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

Halpern Financial  Halpern Financial

Imagine a path to wealth that just works. A team of experts at your beck and call, technology to keep tabs on your money 24/7, financial education and the personal touch that makes organizing your financial life feel achievable, rather than daunting.Halpern Financial is a fiduciary, fee-only, independent advisor that offers a combination of online tools and personal connection to help clients systematically achieve their goals.

Go to halpernfinancial.com/wine for more information!

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices. They offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Jul 30, 2019
Ep 286: The Extreme Altitude Vineyards of Salta, Argentina
40:44

Salta, Argentina contains the highest altitude vineyards in the world and some of the most unique wines. At these heights, UV radiation changes the grapes so in this tiny, remote area, the wines contain flavors and character you won't find from anywhere else!

Here are the show notes:

______

Overview:

  • Salta is at 24˚-26˚S latitude in the northwest of the country, 1500 km/930 miles northwest of Buenos Aires
  • Extreme altitude, extreme sunlight makes powerful, structured wines with a savory minerality
  • The area has been most famed for Torrontés, which is widely planted across wine regions, beautiful aromatics
  • History: Jesuit missionaries first planted grape seeds from Peru in the 1550’s, failed with an earlier attempt near Buenos Aires – first vineyards in Argentina. Today many vineyards over 100 years old, mostly in Calchaquí Valleys in the Andes Mountains

Location

  • Salta's home of the wine trade is Cafayate
  • The region crosses a bunch of valleys called the Calchaquí Valleys (they span other provinces --  Jujuy, Tucumán, Catamarca)
  • Salta is tiny compared to other Argentina wine regions: The region makes 1% of Argentina’s wines from its 5,200 acres (2,000 ha.) of vineyards
  • Climate: Harsh daytime heat warm days, cool nights with 45˚ F/7.2˚C temperature swings during the long growing season in the Calchaquí Valleys
    • More than 300 days of sunlight a year, wind and ultraviolet radiation – causes mutation inducing properties that magnify color and flavor

Sub areas of Salta

  • Cafayate:4 hours south of Salta with alluvial, porous, deep, sandy soils and clay base is similar to the profile of Mendoza. 
  • Molinos department: More than 100 miles from both Salta and Cafayate 8,000ft/ 2440 M to over 10K feet/3000M

Wine:

  • Both whites and reds are fruity with pure flavors, and alcohol is high with excellent acidity and balance
  • REDS: Malbec, Tannat, Merlot, Syrah, Cab, Cabernet Franc – all marked by extreme sun – color, flavor
    • Tannat is one to watch -- hard to sell internationally but it is a local specialty
    • Colomé produces a 100% Tannat under its Lote Especial label from its Finca La Brava vineyards, 1,700m above sea level in Colomé, Salta.
  • WHITES: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,Torrontés
    • Torrontés has powerful acidity, floral aromatics – a big, strong white

 

Wineries Mentioned:

Bodega El Esteco:Altimvs and Chañar Punco are top wines from the Bodega

 

San Pedro de Yacochuya: Founded in 1988 by Arnaldo Etchart and Michel Rolland. Made an international reputation for the area

 

Porvenir de Cafayate:Oenologist Mariano Quiroga, with the American consultant Paul Hobbs (we had the Amauta Malbec while we were recording the show!)

 

José Luis Mounier, Finca Las Nubes: a high-altitude terroir expert, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Colomé and Tacuil wineries in Los Molinos: Both growing vines at 2,500 meters/8,200 above sea level. Colomé’s Altura Maxima is at 10,000 feet/3,111 meters

 

______________________________________ 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. You can try the collection at home with a stylist-curated Bento Box.

 

Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Jul 22, 2019
Ep 285: Mendoza, Argentina and it's many facets
51:15

Mendoza is Argentina’s most important and prolific wine region, representing two-thirds of the nation’s wine production. We talk about the effect of altitude and other geographical features that make this area so unique. Then we break down sub regions and discuss the incredible diversity that guarantees there is a wine style for every palate out of this beautiful, mountainous wine region.

 

Here are the show notes:

First we tackle the stats and some history on the region:

  • High altitude vineyards in the Andes Mountains that range from 430-1610 M/ 1,411 – 5,282 feet
  • Latitude: 32˚ - 34˚ south
  • 151K hectares/373K acres
  • 5 large sub-regions: Valle de Uco, Primera Zona, North, East and South Mendoza Zones
  • Mendoza wine blossomed with the railroad coming through in 1885 and industrial wine production reigned for many decades. International markets weren’t a priority until the financial crisis of the late 1990s.

 

Next, we discuss the unique geography and terrain of the region:

  • We delve into the intense climate, the desert-like conditions, and how irrigation happens thanks to the inventions of the Huarapes and Incas
  • We discuss the altitude for a long time (sorry if it’s too dorky!) – and why it is the most important thing Mendoza has going for it.
    • Most vineyards are 3,000 -5,000 feet above sea level – big diurnals mean grapes can maintain acidity despite intense sunlight
  • Soils: Alluvial with loose sand over clay – areas differ based on what runs down the mountain…
  • Sandy areas – lighter, more aromatic elegance (red fruit)
  • Clay-based soils with lime: Dark, powerful Malbec

 

We chat about grapes and wine colors of Mendoza

  • Red: 61.2% with the main grapes:
    • Malbec – 40%
    • Bonarda – 17%
    • Cabernet Sauvignon – 12%
    • Syrah – 9%
    • Tempranillo – 6%
  • White: 15.8%:
    • Chardonnay – 21%
    • Torrontés Riojano – 15%
    • Chenin Blanc – 7%
    • Sauvignon Blac 6.5%
  • Rose: 23%

 

 

Then we riff on sub regions for the rest of the show!

 I. South Mendoza:

  • San Rafael: Malbec, Bordeaux blends – Cab, Syrah, Bonnarda, Chard, Semillon, Torrontés

II. East Mendoza

  • San Martin: Lots of coops, lots of Criolla Grande, Cereza, now moving to better wines
  • Lower altitude, a bit warmer, flabbier

 

III. North Mendoza: also warmer, can be very soft/low tannin and low acid wines

 

IV. Primera Zona: Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo – 40% of Argentina’s wineries, 881 inn total

Maipu –12 districts, 6% of Argentine wine

  • Familia Zuccardi, Rutini and Trapiche have vineyards here
  • Maipu is not quite as highly regarded as Lujan de Cuyo or Uco Valley

 Important Subareas:

  • Lulunta: East of Mendoza city, altitude is around 900-930m/ 3000 ft
    • Rich style of Malbec
  • Barrancas: 115 miles/185 km south of Mendoza city.Centered around the small township of the same name. Old region – started in 1880s
    • Slightly warmer climate here and lower lower altitude – 2500 ft/750 m- softer and riper than those from other parts of Mendoza
    • Cab, Syrah, Malbec 

 

Luján de Cuyo –14 districts, 8% of Argentine wine production

  • Just south of the city of Mendoza and on higher ground to the west of Maipú
  • Vistalba and Compuertas north of the river and Perdriel and Agrelo south of it
  • Grapes: Malbec with Cab, Chard, Torrontes
  • Hot, dry, desert-like but moderated by high altitude – average is 3300 ft/1000 m
  • Alluvial soils are the big thing here – rocky, sandy, poor soils, mountain soils – lots of stress on the vine
  • Catena Zapata, Bodega Septima, Cheval des Andes

 

Important Subareas:

Agrelo 

  • Complex Malbec – long-lasting, powerful wines
  • Also Cab, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc
  • In Center of Lujan de Cuyo: Bodega Septima, Pulenta Estate, Catena Zapata, Susana Bilbao

 

Las Compuertas

  • At opening of the Mendoza River as it emerges from the mountains -- Las Compuertasmeans "the floodgates"
  • Malbec vines are some of the oldest in Mendoza, up to 100 years old. Other grapes: Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay
  • Famous winery: Cheval des Andes

 

Perdriel 

  • Small sub-region (20 kilometers/ 13 miles) south of Mendoza
  • Some of the oldest vineyardsof Malbec and Cab
  • Wines are subtler and more refined, floral notes

 

Vistalba (means "view of the dawn" in Spanish)

  • Southwest of Mendoza
  • Malbec, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Cabernet, Sauv Blanc, Bonarda
  • Slightly higher than the surrounding regions -- better air circulation
  • Wines are often elegant in style Trapiche. Bodega Vistalba

 

 

V. Uco Valley (Valle de Uco)-- 14% of all Argentinean wine

  • Hour's drive south from the city of Mendoza, famed wineries
  • Since 2006, cultivated area grown by 65%, double the size of Luján de Cuyo
  • Grapes: 50% Malbec, Cab Franc has potential, Chard, Torrontés
    • Each zone offers a different profile of Malbec and other wines.
  • European investment here – from Bordeaux in particular:Lurton, Rothschild and Rolland
  • Soils: alluvial and fairly uniform: a clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface
  • Cooler climate, slower ripening, Slightly higher above sea level Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo

 

Important Sub areas:

Tupungato 

  • Vineyards planted nearly 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) above sea level – way cooler here than farther north
  • Northern end of the Valle de Uco southwest of Mendoza.
  • Best -- Gualtallary, a precious corner
  • Violet scented Malbec: earthy, herbal and balsamic Cabernet Franc: elegant Pinot Noir

Tunuyán 

  • All about sub-appellations:
    • Chacayes: High vineyards, full but minerally wines
    • Los Árboles: Coolest area, borders Tupungato – Chardonnay is best here
    • Vista Flores: Prized property – (Clos de los Siete – Michel Rolland’s property is here)

San Carlos

  • Tunuyán river helps influence vineyards -- sandy alluvial soils with rocks and calcareous stones are irregular and that gives a lot of diversity in style
  • Two important subregions:
    • Paraje Altamira: Fruity, earthy reds with minerality, dusty note. Excellent Semillons (Check out Finca Suárez or Mendel)
    • La Consulta: Many old vines with intense and concentrated reds

 

Please shop around, try all the different styles and let us know what you like! I promise we will be doing the same!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

 

Halpern Financial  Halpern Financial

Imagine a path to wealth that just works. A team of experts at your beck and call, technology to keep tabs on your money 24/7, financial education and the personal touch that makes organizing your financial life feel achievable, rather than daunting.Halpern Financial is a fiduciary, fee-only, independent advisor that offers a combination of online tools and personal connection to help clients systematically achieve their goals.

Go to halpernfinancial.com/wine for more information!

 

  

Zola

Zola, the wedding company that will do anything for love, is reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience to make the happiest moment in couples' lives even happier. From engagement to wedding and decorating your first home, Zola is there, combining compassionate customer service with modern tools and technology. All in the service of love.

To start your free wedding website or registry on Zola, go to www.ZOLA.com/wine

 

 

Jul 15, 2019
Ep 284: Lorenzo Muslija from Andis Wine in Sierra Foothills, California
01:02:57

This week I speak with Lorenzo Muslija, the co-owner and National Sales Manager for Andis Wines in the Sierra Foothills of California. I had the honor of meeting him and getting to know him when he joined our November 2018 Underground Wine Event and I adore both him and his wines.

 

Opened in November of 2010, Andis Wines is a boutique winery located in historic Amador County in California's Sierra Foothills. They source from the best vineyards in the Sierra Foothills, hand sort and ferment their wine in small lots and the result is well-balanced, food friendly, terroir-driven wines.  Lorenzo recently became a co-owner of the business and we talk about his fascinating personal story, his love of Sierra Foothills, and what makes Andis unique.


Here are the show notes:

  • Lorenzo tells us about his early years growing up in Albania and Italy, his university life as a civil engineer, and how became owner and founder of one of the most popular (French-inspired) restaurants in Florence.
  • We discuss how his love of his children brought him to California and why he felt it was the right choice to study Wine Business Management rather than enology or some other path in the higher education vis a vis wine.
  • We discuss why Lorenzo, the international man of culture, taste, and cuisine, found excitement in working with one of the least developed wine regions of California (Sierra Foothills)
  • Lorenzo gives us the dish on the Foothills and why it’s great and not so great, as well as how Andis is able to do things well in their region. We also discuss how Lorenzo’s Italian sensibilities have helped shape Andis Wines.
     
  • We wrap by talking about Lorenzo’s latest venture – how he has become a partner in Andis and what that means for the winery and for this dynamic, wonderful guy!

 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:


Patrons on Patreon 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Last Bottle

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

 

The Citizenry

The Citizenry is a socially conscious home décor brand bringing time-tested craftsmanship to the modern home. They travel around the globe, partnering with master artisans to create designs with a soul, story, and a purpose. With pieces crafted in over 15 countries, their collections are designed to highlight the unique materials and craft traditions of each destination. And even better -- every dollar you spend supports fair wages, safe working environments, and is a direct investment into artisan entrepreneurs.

For a special offer, go to CitizenryPodcast.com and enter WINE.

Jul 09, 2019
Ep 283: US Wine Lovers Victorious In the Supreme Court Case with Tom Wark
46:41

Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine
Retailers (WineFreedom.org) rejoins the podcast to discuss the huge WIN for American wine consumers that has taken place.

The Supreme Court of the US, the highest court of the land, has basically decided that states are not permitted to block interstate commerce -- meaning wine shops anywhere in the US are permitted to ship wine to any consumer in the US, unless there is a health and safety reason for them to forbid it (which is pretty hard to prove!) 

 

Tom and I discuss the finer points of the case (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-96_5i36.pdf)
and the next exciting steps for us, as wine drinkers, across the US. Here are some of the high level topics we discuss: 

  • Tom refreshes us on what was at stake in the Supreme Court case. We get a bit wonky on the details but it's worth it to listen!

 

  • We discuss the ruling and why and how this opens the door for retailers to ship wine legally to all states.

 

  • We talk about the future -- potential challenges to shipping laws and how we, as consumers can help with the process. 

 

Go to https://www.winefreedom.org and sign up to find out how when activity is happening in your state that you can help with. A phone call or email could mean that your ability to order that really rare bottle of orange wine from Greece (or whatever other random stuff you want!) is just a click away! 

 

Canadians -- take note of this show. You're issues are similar and you need to see what happens here to model it so you can open up your wine trade too!

 

Thank you to our sponsors:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Last Bottle   

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normaland join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

 

Halpern Financial